Asian carp

Study Of Acoustic Asian Carp Deterrent Begins At Upper Mississippi River Lock 19

Scientists, engineers and contractors were scheduled to begin installing a temporary, experimental underwater Acoustic Deterrent System, or uADS, at Mississippi River Lock and Dam 19 between Keokuk, Iowa, and Hamilton, Ill., on January 11, the U.S Geological Survey (USGS) announced.  The construction is part of a study to understand how invasive Asian carp respond to acoustic, or sound, signals.

Asian carp, including silver carp, bighead carp, black carp and grass carp, grow quickly and aggressively compete with native fish for food and habitat.

According to Randy Hines, a biologist with the Upper Midwest Biological Sciences Center, the site was chosen for two reasons. Scientists already had a wealth of data on existing native fish stocks at the site; and it is the only lock and dam in the area through which carp can only pass through the lock gates. Like many fish species, Asian carp use navigation locks to bypass dams and move upstream in rivers for reproduction or to extend their range. At other locks and dams, carp can pass through the locks at low water, or over the tops of the dams at high water. Structures like Dam 19, over which fish cannot pass, force the fish to traverse the lock, making the navigation lock and its approach ideal areas to place control technologies to deter upstream fish movement. Lock 19 is a particularly useful test site because scientists previously studied movements of native fish and Asian carp around and through the lock, Hines said.

If the deterrent is effective at controlling upstream movement of Asian carp with limited effects on native species, this or similar technology could be deployed at other critical locations to help prevent the spread of invasive Asian carp.

The equipment installation is scheduled concurrent with planned lock maintenance from January 1 to March 15. The Corps of Engineers will close the navigation lock during this maintenance period. Construction and installation of the uADS and study equipment will likely last about two months, and then the uADS will operate for up to three years according to a research study plan.

Boaters near the deterrent may hear the signal through the hull of their vessels. The low sound levels in air will not be hazardous to people and will not interfere with high-frequency sonar, communications equipment or similar electronics.

This multi-agency study is led by the USGS in collaboration with the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center; the Rock Island Engineer District, which operates Lock 19; and Chicago Engineer District; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; the Missouri Department of Conversation; and the Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota Departments of Natural Resources.