Fisheries, Midwest Region
Conserving America's Fisheries

2015 Barge Study Results

Building on the 2013 Barge Study Results, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Carterville Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, Wilmington Substation, has completed a technical report summarizing a series of trials to evaluate the possible entrainment and inadvertent transport of small fish in and through locks and the USACE electric dispersal barrier in the Chicago Area Waterway System. Findings from earlier studies suggested that upstream passage of barge traffic could potentially provide an opportunity for the simultaneous passage of fish within barge junction gap spaces. During 2015, USFWS conducted more advanced experimental trials that utilized free swimming (non-caged/non-tethered), surrogate fish. Results suggest that small (< 6 in) freely swimming fish that encounter a barge tow moving upstream can become inadvertently entrained by the barge tow and be transported across the Electric Dispersal Barrier system. Additional trials also demonstrated that entrained fish could remain within the barge rake-to-box junction gap during upstream lockage operations and continue to move upstream with the barge tow for distances of up to 9.6 mi.

2013 Barge Study Results

Since early 2012, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Carterville Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (FWCO) has been performing fish-barge interaction evaluations at the electric dispersal barrier system in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (CSSC). Initial work consisted of placing wild-caught fish within a non-conductive cage alongside, in, and around different parts of a barge. The fish were then moved through the barrier and the effect of the barrier on the fish (incapacitated or not incapacitated) was recorded. Later we used unconfined Gizzard Shad (not placed in cages) that were tethered to floats. These fish were either placed directly into areas around barges as they traversed the barrier or placed in front of oncoming barges as they approached and traversed the barrier. Results of what happened (e.g. entrained or not; live or dead) were recorded. The interim report is a summary of this work to date.

 

DIDSON Fish Behavior Studies

Beginning in June 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Carterville Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (FWCO) began evaluating wild fish populations and their behavior within the electric dispersal barrier located in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. Using a dual-frequency identification SONAR (DIDSON) unit, we evaluated fish populations throughout the entire barrier system, which covered the entire gradient of barrier voltages, and also performed concentrated evaluations directly over the strongest part of the barrier. The interim report is a summary of this work to date.

 


Fish Behavior and Abundance at the Electric Dispersal Barrier
Final Report

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Carterville Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (FWCO) has compiled this comprehensive final report of fieldwork performed during 2011 and 2012, at the electric dispersal barrier system in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. This report comprises two sub projects. The first examined fish behaviors and abundances around the electrical barriers, and the second examined the effects of the barrier on live caged fish.

 

 

 

Journal of Great Lakes Research (IAGLR)
Article in Press

Direct observations of fish incapacitation rates at a large electrical fish barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal