Army Corps Plans a “zone of chaos” to Protect Great Lakes from Asian Carp

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers takes some unique, but not necessarily unusual steps to stop Asian carp from infesting Great Lakes. A report from

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans an aquatic house of horrors for the invasive Asian Carp that threatens Great Lakes.

This is part of the “layered defense” that Lake Michigan Corps will implement in the coming years to stop undesirable carp from entering through Chicago-area canals and rivers.

They may be driven away by the bubble curtain if the sound isn’t enough. It is possible to give them electricity if they are unsuccessful.

This first phase of the project was awarded a grant for $225 million. The federal government will eventually spend nearly $1 billion.

Officials from the Corps and scientists worry that Asian carp will outnumber native species in Great Lakes ecosystems, such as walleyes and perch. (This would have a major impact on fishing in the region). There’s more: “The silver fish pose an additional threat as they have been known to leap out of water when motors are turned on. This can cause injury to humans. This could be the beginning of an excellent B-movie.

Here’s more information from about the scope of the project:

Speakers in water will make noise to deter fish from entering the waters. Irons stated that researchers still are working to find the perfect sounds. . . .

An air-filled, bubble-filled pipe will create a second barrier to the stream’s bottom. Andrew Leichty is the Corps’ project manager. The bubbles are expected to turn the fish off. But they can also be used for small carp that have been caught between the barges in the area of the lock.

A second increment of the project will see an installation of an electric barrier. This will be especially effective for larger carp. . . .

A second technique will be utilized later on in the development process is the ability to flush water downstream through the lock as boats pass by. Leichty explained that flushing is intended to eliminate any floating fish eggs and larvae in the water.

Although concerns about Asian carp are not new, these efforts have been made. After trying to bring their case before the Supreme Court, the Great Lakes state lost nearly a decade-old legal attempt to get the federal government to act more aggressively to curb the spread of Asian carp.