Chicago carp barrier to be activated
Washington – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has completed
safety testing and says it will activate the electric dispersal
barrier in the Chicago Ship Canal by the end of January.
The Corps has been taking heat from Illinois and other Great
Lakes states because of a 30-month delay on the project.
Located in Chicago, the canal is an artificial link between Lake
Michigan and the Mississippi River basin. The barrier is designed
to repel Asian carp by firing electricity into the water.
Asian carp pose a hazard to recreational boaters in Lake
Michigan and other Great Lakes.
The northward migration of invasive aquatic species such as
Asian carp through the Mississippi River has been a long-term
concern of advocates for the Great Lakes. These carp can weigh up
to 100 pounds and consume up to 40 percent of their body weight in
one day. Their consumption habits could cause tremendous harm to
native species in the world’s largest freshwater ecosystem.
A second species of carp, the silver carp, is also a threat.
According to the Illinois Natural History Survey, the population of
silver carp nearly doubles each year on an 80-mile stretch of the
Though smaller than the Asian carp, the silver carp is capable
of similar damage to the Great Lakes.
The anticipated activation of the permanent electric barrier
next month will provide a supplement to the current demonstration
barrier in deterring invasive species from entering the Great
Lakes, the Corps noted.
All together, the Corps and the Coast Guard have spent more than
$1 million testing the barrier and trying to make it safer for
people using the canal.