A New Weapon for Battling Invasive Carp
BY JEREMIAH SMITH, CARTERVILLE FWCO
This fall, I had the opportunity to visit US Geological Survey (USGS) Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center in La Crosse, Wisconsin for a water gun training and demonstration for invasive carp. During the two day training session, I had an opportunity to learn about the history of the water guns (100 cubic inch and 200 cubic inches) and 100 cubic feet per minute diesel compressor. This type of technology has been around for a few decades in the oil and natural gas exploration and now has been modified for use as a weapon in the war against aquatic invasive species.
The process to set-up the water gun was fairly simple given that you are running a heavy duty air hose and electrical line to the water gun. From there, the airline is connected to the diesel compressor that delivers compressed air, which releases the piston forcing water from the muzzle of the gun. The electrical line runs to the control box that is used to operate the entire water gun system. The control box allows the users to control a multitude of water guns on a boat or within a confined space. The beauty of the water guns is their simplicity. To maintain only takes the removal of a few nuts and bolts, inspection of the working components, lubrication of a few parts and O-rings, changing one or two O-rings and putting everything back together.
I was able to observe the force and intensity that these water guns can deliver and the practicality of implementation for use in deterring invasive carp. Many of the invasive carp were mortally wounded when the force of the 200 cubic inch water gun ruptured the anterior swim bladder. It was evident that the folks with USGS and La Crosse Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office were impressed when ten of the 16, eight inch Silver and Bighead carp were floating after the treatment. We are looking forward to seeing how this method of deterring invasive species will pan out in the future battle against invasive carp species.