Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Army Corps Studies On Asian Carp Control Options

Jun 3: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) was directed in the Water Resources Development Act 2007 to conduct a study of a range of options or technologies for reducing impacts of hazards that may reduce the efficacy of the Electrical Dispersal Barriers located on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (CSSC). To expedite the evaluation, USACE divided the Efficacy study into several phases. USACE and its partner agencies in the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (ACRCC) released the interim III and IIIA reports for public review. The other phases are outlined in the ACRCC Framework (See links below). Interim Report IIIA is a final report. The public comment period for the draft Interim III report will end on June 15, 2010.
    The report, Interim IIIA, Fish Deterrent Barriers, Illinois and Chicago Area Waterways Risk Reduction Study and Integrated Environmental Assessment, considered how technologies such as bubbles, lights and sounds could be used to deter Asian carp movement. In the course of this evaluation, USACE determined that, while these technologies do show promise, further testing and calibration of this tool against Asian carp is needed. In addition, there is significant expense associated with the fabrication and installation of this technology. USACE recommends installing one acoustic bubble curtain with strobe lights (ABS fish deterrent) near the Brandon Road Lock and Dam as a demonstration project.

    The second report, Interim III, Modified Structures Operations, Chicago Area Waterways Risk Reduction Study and Integrated Environmental Assessment, evaluated the potential for risk reduction that might be achieved through changes in the operation of the Chicago Area Waterway structures, such as locks, sluice gates, and pumping stations. The report includes a Risk Assessment, prepared by USFWS based on input from a panel of experts. The risk assessment considered possible lock operation alternatives as well as biological, ecological and risk management factors. The Expert Risk Analysis Panel concluded there is no individual or combination of lock operation scenarios that will lower "the risk of Asian carp establishing self-sustaining populations in Lake Michigan to an acceptable level."

    The report's primary recommendation is to place screens on the outer two sluice gates at the T.J. O'Brien Lock and Dam. The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago already placed similar screens on sluice gates at the Chicago River Controlling Works. After conducting a thorough analysis of modifications to lock operations, the report recommends intermittent lock operation on a case-by-case basis in support of fish management efforts such as spot piscicide application, or intensive commercial fishing efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) and Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR).

    Access a release from ACRCC with commenting instructions (click here). Access the ACRCC for further information including the Framework (click here). Access the Interim III report (click here, 12MB). Access the Interim IIIA report (click here, 5MB).