The Sierra Club and other conservation groups want emergency action to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.
Experts say the dangerous carp can bypass an electric fish barrier on the Chicago Ship Canal if heavy rains cause the nearby Des Plaines River to flood into the canal like it did last year.
The Sierra Club, the Alliance for the Great Lakes, and Great Lakes United asked the corps Wednesday to build an emergency dike between the canal and the river.
But Army Corps Colonel Vincent Quarles said his agency does not have the authority to do it and they don't have the money, either.
That could change if the Senate passes the same energy and water budget the House recently approved.
It included the authority for the Corps to take action.
The Asian carp is a major threat to the Great Lakes, because they gobble up the food now eaten by native fish.
Meanwhile, the Corps said Wednesday that silver and bighead carp have been found in a canal located just east of the Chicago Ship Canal.