Asian carp

Nashville Engineer District To Study Invasive Carp Barriers

The Nashville Engineer District plans to study options for managing and preventing the spread of invasive carp species at locks on the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers and the northern section of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.

The district announced September 26 it is initiating “scoping” under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which could lead to pilot projects at some locks to determine effectiveness of prevention measures. The district could put various types of carp barriers in place at locks, either singularly or in combination, the district said.

“Invasive carp are a major concern in the Mississippi River basin,” the district said in its scoping notice, which was signed by Craig D. Carrington, chief of the district’s project planning branch. “Movement through lock systems is the primary means of upstream migration into tributaries such as the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. Invasive carp are in direct competition with native aquatic species for food and habitat and pose a major threat to the ecology, environment, economy and safety.”

The district is seeking public input into the potential economic and environmental impacts of installing the invasive carp barriers in the waterways. It is also reviewing state and federal data on the extent of the spread of four separate invasive carp species.

“This study will develop feasible alternatives to best manage and prevent the spread of invasive carp using innovative technologies, methods and measures,” the district said. “USACE will evaluate these alternatives for select pilot projects to prohibit further migration of invasive carp into unaffected waters.”

Proposed measures could include: an underwater acoustic deterrent system with speakers that produce loud sounds; a bio-acoustic fish fence (BAFF) that includes a bubble curtain, sounds and light from the riverbed to the water surface; infusion of recycled carbon dioxide gas; or an electrical current barrier that does not electrocute but does repel carp.

Input on the options may be sent to the district by email at within 30 days of the letter’s date.

Those without access to email may mail comments to Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District, ATTN: CELRN-PMP, 110 9th Ave. South, Room A-405, Nashville, TN 37203-3817.

“We encourage comments not only regarding resources in the immediate study area, but also of plans and proposals for any other development that may impact or influence project resources,” the notice said. “Comments would be used to assess effects of any proposed actions to the human environment.”

Additional information on the study is available by contacting Kathleen McConnell at 251-323-2533.