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Asian Carp Survivability Experiments and Water Transport Surveys in the Illinois River, Volume 1

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Final rept.

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This report combines two earlier reports regarding investigations into the potential for barges and towboats to transport Asian carp upstream across the Army Corps of Engineers electronic dispersal barrier and release them on the Lake Michigan side of the barrier. It summarizes a series of experiments conducted during June 2011 to evaluate the potential for Asian carp larvae to be entrained into and survive in barge ballast tanks on the Illinois River. It also describes investigations in 2010 and 2012 to determine the amount of water normally carried in barge ballast tanks. Experiments were conducted in the LaGrange Reach of the Illinois River. Results indicated few Asian carp larvae were entrained and the majority of entrained fish were non-Asian carp, primarily gizzard shad. Survival of Asian carp larvae in test cages in tanks was high, even when water quality conditions were not favorable low dissolved oxygen concentrations. A very small percentage 0.56 of Asian carp survived for 30 minutes after being pumped through either a 2-inch or 3-inch pump. Although long-term survival following pumping was not determined, this extremely low survival rate translates to a minimal risk. Visual inspections of ballast tanks and voids on 132 barges empty and loaded and 14 towboats were completed in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal in August 2010. An additional tank survey was conducted in July 2012 on barges operating locally near the electronic dispersal barriers. Overall, only 5 of the more than 1000 tanks surveyed contained a measurable amount of water. Dissolved oxygen in tanks ranged between 0.44 - 7.80 mgL. Although the water quality conditions were not optimal and water depth was very shallow, tanks could support early developmental stages of Asian carp. Volume 1 of this report contains the descriptions, results, and conclusions from the experiments and surveys as well as a description of barge design and normal operating procedures.

Subject Categories:

  • Biology
  • Surface Transportation and Equipment

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