Fisheries, Midwest Region
Conserving America's Fisheries

2017 Preliminary Barge Study Results
In 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers undertook large-scale field studies to examine two potential techniques for mitigating the risk of commercial barge tow-mediated fish passage at the Electric Dispersal Barrier System (EDBS) in Romeoville, IL; and to assess the potential inadvertent entrainment (trapping) and transport of Silver Carp by commercial barges transiting navigation pools currently populated by Asian carp in the Illinois Waterway (IWW).

These studies built upon previous field and laboratory research investigating potential small fish entrainment, transport, and mitigation. The 2017 field studies included the following three phases: 1) assessing return flow mitigation (reverse flow created by downstream-transiting vessels), 2) assessing small fish entrainment mitigation using a prototype water jet flushing system near the EDBS, and 3) assessing Silver Carp entrainment dynamics in the Alton and La Grange pools of the IWW. These studies were funded by the GLRI and scoped as part of the interagency Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee's 2017 Asian Carp Action Plan.

2016 Barge Study Results
In August 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers undertook another field study at the Electric Dispersal Barrier System (EDBS) to examine the potential for transiting tows to create non-entrainment related pathways for fish passage of the barrier system. This study examined the influence of tow transit on the efficacy of the EDBS in preventing the passage of wild juvenile fish (total length < 100 mm). Dual-frequency identification sonar observations showed that large schools of wild juvenile fish (mean school size of 120 fish; n = 19)moved upstream and crossed the electric field of an array in the EDBS concurrent with downstream-bound (downbound) loaded tows in 89.5% of trials. Small (<100 mm) Golden Shiners were entrained in rake-box junction gaps and transported upstream across the EDBS at substantial rates. A mean of 24.7 % (SD=16.3%, n= 19) of fish entrained within junction gaps were transported across the entire barrier system during 2016 trials. This study shows that downbound tows moving through the barrier create a pathway for the upstream movement of small fish, and therefore may increase the risk of transfer of invasive fishes from the Mississippi River Basin to the Great Lakes Basin (Davis et al. 2017).

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