Monday, March 28, 2011

Army Corps Report On Asian Carp Electric Barrier System

Mar 25: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a research report on the operation of the electric dispersal barrier system in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (CSSC). The electric barrier system is a key measure preventing the migration of two species of Asian carp, Silver and Bighead into the Great Lakes ecosystem. The Corps commissioned the report as part of its ongoing research to refine the optimum operating parameters for the barriers.

    All information available to the Corps indicates that the barrier system is working as designed. The Corps has undertaken numerous studies to determine and refine the optimal operating parameters of the electric barriers to ensure it is effective at containing Asian carp. The research report released today was conducted through a collaborative effort between the Corps' Engineer Research & Development Center (ERDC) and the Corps' barrier contractor, Smith-Root, Inc. According to a release, the Operational Protocols Report discusses the results of five laboratory research efforts related to the impact of the fish barrier and various other conditions likely to be encountered in the CSSC, which could affect the behavior of small Asian carp, applying conservative hypothetical "worst case" scenarios. Specifically, the research included experiments on electrical parameters, water conductivity, volitional challenge of electric fields, and water velocity. These studies were conducted in a controlled environment in ERDC's laboratories.

    Research summarized in the Operational Protocols Report indicates the current barrier operating parameters are effective for fish as small as 5.4 inches in length. The research published in the report suggests that slightly higher operating parameters than those currently in use may be necessary to immobilize all very small Asian carp, as small as 1.7 to 3.2 inches in length. The research also indicates that very small Asian carp may repeatedly challenge the electrical barriers at the current operating parameters, high levels of water conductivity could affect the operating parameters, and the swimming ability of small Asian carp is impeded by a combination of the electrical field and water velocity. Because the research was conducted under the physical constraints and limitations of a laboratory setting, further field research near the fish barrier system is needed in order to validate the results. Some of that research is already underway.

    Access a lengthy release with further details and link to (click here). Access a 1-page fact sheet (click here). Access the complete 132-page report  (click here). Access the Corps Chicago District website for more information (click here). Access more information from the Asian carp website (click here). Access the GLMRIS website for information and to submit comments (click here).

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Request For Applications

Mar 25: U.S. EPA is soliciting applications for grants and cooperative agreements to be awarded as part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). Up to $40 million may be awarded under this Request for Applications for about 150 projects, contingent on the availability of appropriations, the quality of applications received, and other applicable considerations.
    The RFA is EPA's major competitive grant funding opportunity under GLRI for FY2011 and is one of several funding opportunities available through Federal agencies under the GLRI. The RFA requests applications for projects in the categories listed below: Toxic Substances and Areas of Concern; Invasive Species; Nearshore Health and Nonpoint Source Pollution; and Accountability, Education, Monitoring, Evaluation, Communication, and Partnerships.
    Access an announcement for complete details, webinars and questions (click here). Access the new GLRI website (click here).