Asian Carp Integrated Control and Containment: Brandon Road Lock and Dam

Science Center Objects

Increased threat of Asian carp entering the Great Lakes and spreading to other basins such as the Upper Mississippi River and Ohio River basins, has led to increased prevention and control efforts since 2010. Successful management of this invasive species requires methods to contain future spread, reduce population levels, and minimize their effects. In collaboration with partners, USGS scientists have developed and continue to test containment and control methods and have investigated options for combined implementation of these new tools and technologies which can then be used for an integrated adaptive management approach. 

Characterization of Brandon Road Lock for Barrier Implementation

To help prevent the movement of Asian carps from the Mississippi River basin to the Great Lakes basin, additional barriers on the Chicago Area Waterways have been proposed at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam as a component of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS) Report developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).  The plans outlined by the USACE suggested implementing a combination of new electric barriers and a “GLMRIS Lock” with an estimated timeline of 10 years or longer.  Newer barrier technologies to Asian carps movement, such as acoustic deterrents or injecting carbon dioxide to drive fish away, have been suggested by recent research as promising barrier approaches that could be implemented at this site. Implementing existing and new technologies at the Brandon Road location requires a better understanding of the impacts of lockages, structures, hydrologic conditions and characteristics that could constrain the deployment of these technologies.  Assessment of hydrologic and water chemistry conditions and temporal variations associated with the river and lock and dam operation will help the USACE identify the potential impacts associated with the deployment of these technologies on or near their structures.  An understanding of the hydrologic and water chemistry conditions also provides background information about how deployment of these new technologies could be designed to maximize efficacy as an aquatic invasive species barrier while minimizing the impact on movement of barges and other vessels through the lock and approaches.  The scope of the work is dynamic as input from other cooperators and stakeholders, such as the USACE, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IL DNR), require the USGS to be flexible to the needs identified.

The USGS performed a detailed study of the Brandon Road Lock and downstream approach channel, which included the collection and analysis of bathymetric, hydrodynamic, and dye tracer data. Synthesis of these data allowed a characterization of the site for future use in feasibility studies of potential aquatic nuisance species (ANS) control technologies. The USGS and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) investigated the potential for entrainment, retention, and transport of freely swimming fish within large gaps (greater than 50 cubic meters) created at junction points between barges in a commercial tow. Modified mark and capture trials were employed to assess fish entrainment, retention, and transport by barge tows.  The USFWS, USGS, and USACE undertook a field study in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal near Romeoville, Illinois to determine the influence of tow transit on the efficacy of the Electric Dispersal Barrier System (EDBS) in preventing the passage of juvenile fish (total length less than 100 millimeters (mm)).

Brandon Road Lock and downstream approach channel is a highly dynamic system driven primarily by lock operations but influenced by channel characteristics, industrial withdrawals, and meteorological forcing. Lock operation produces rapidly varying flows in the downstream approach channel, including transient oscillations that produce bidirectional flows. When the lock is not in operation, flows in the approach channel are primarily driven by leakage and wind forcing. Uniform concentrations of dissolved constituents in the lock chamber can be achieved by injection of the constituent into the existing lock filling and emptying system; however, valve and gate leakage can inhibit the mixing at the downstream end of the lock and substantially affects the ability to maintain a treated lock chamber at a uniform target concentration at tailwater level. Proper understanding of these hydraulic factors should be accounted for if the lock is to be used to deliver any dissolved constituent or operated in a way to prevent upstream passage of floating ANS. Moreover, extremely variable flow conditions including bidirectional flows and upstream return flows must be considered when implementing any ANS control technologies in the approach channel.

This project has shown that when loaded moving barges with a rake-to-box junction encounter juvenile fish there is a possibility that they will become entrained into the barge junction gap. Once entrained into the junction gap, fish may be retained and transported over long distances (in excess of 15.5 km) and past multiple elements encountered by barge traffic during typical barge operation on the Illinois Waterway (passage through a lock chamber, through constrictions and broad open channels, passage of working tows and moored barges, multiple changes in heading and speed over a long distance, and passage through the  electric barrier) (see ESM video). The results of the study and the implications for potential inter-basin transport of invasive fish species predicate that management actions intended to mitigate such risks are required.

This project has shown that the efficacy of the USACE Electric Dispersal Barrier System (EDBS) in preventing the passage of small, wild fish (less than 100 mm in total length) is compromised while tows are moving across the barrier system. Small fish were observed to actively swim upstream, completely across the peak electric field of the Barrier IIB high-field array, during 17 out of 19 downbound transits of a loaded tow configuration. These schools were not observed to breach the Barrier IIB in the absence of a transiting tow. Return currents and decreases in voltage gradients induced by transiting tows likely contributed to the observed fish passage through the EDBS. In particular, downbound tows moving through the EDBS create a pathway for the upstream movement of small fish across the EDBS, and therefore may increase the risk of transfer of invasive fishes from the Mississippi River Basin to the Great Lakes Basin.

 

Field Deployment of Acoustic Barriers at Brandon Road Lock

Several potential control technologies are being considered to prevent Asian carp movement through Brandon Road Lock.  The USGS has conducted numerous laboratory and field tests using complex sound to deter Asian Carp, however, if this technology is to be used at or around a lock and dam, proper design and testing should be completed. The use of this technology at a lock within a navigation channel offers additional complexities over the typical field installation testing. This testing will allow for the development and testing of a sound model, evaluation of deployment configurations, and assessment of impacts to native fish and any telemetered Asian Carp in the Dresden Island Pool over the testing period.  During the testing period, a limited assessment of impacts to navigation can be evaluated because the Brandon Road Lock is on a regulated navigation channel with on average 3,500 lockages per year. Most of the traffic is commercial cargo (tugs and barges). The testing will also include an evaluation of issues associated with navigator and lock operator safety, such as possible interference with marine radios and other communication devices and other technology interferences that may impact navigation.  Another objective of this project is to provide all potential parties with field experience in the deployment of these (aquatic nuisance species) ANS control technologies and to inform engineering considerations of future deployments.

Multibeam bathymetry and sediment depth data were collected at select locations on the Des Plaines River near Brandon Road Lock and Dam at Joliet, Illinois, in February 2017 Boldt and Martin, 2017). These data were provided to the USACE Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) to develop a quantitative model of the study area incorporating ambient acoustics, boundary conditions (walls, channel, air-water interface), and potential interfering factors such as turbulence during lock releases. This sound propagation model is a critical step in optimizing the design of any acoustic deterrent system which can then be modified for use at other locations.     

USGS tested the engineering feasibility of implementing the sound deterrent system (underwater speakers) in the lock approach channel of Brandon Road Lock.

A short-term field trial of an acoustic deterrent system in the summer of 2017 at Brandon Road Lock and Dam tested a range of projected sounds (pure tones, swoops, and white noise). These sounds were projected using underwater speakers and recorded on hydrophones at hundreds of locations in the lock approach to develop sound maps and determine if ambient sounds interfere with sound projections.

 

Staff viewing an aerial map of project location.

Staff viewing an aerial map of project location. 

(Public domain.)

USGS Communication and Outreach:

The USGS is working to communicate results of newly developed technologies such as complex sound, carbon dioxide deterrent, food cues, and microparticles to control and monitor Asian carp. Communication strategies include coordinating site visits to demonstrate how technologies are applied, focused meetings with partners, and production of fact sheets, publications, and other information. USGS will coordinate the communication approach across multiple projects to most efficiently demonstrate technologies and get the information to the stakeholders and managers.

A large group of staff members being informed on project information

A large group of staff members being informed on project information.

(Public domain.)

The USGS assisted in planning and coordination of a multi-agency 2-day workshop entitled “Strategic Discussion of National Asian Carp Management and Control” in Springfield, IL in January 2017. This workshop brought together state and federal managers and researchers working on Asian carp control in the Mississippi River and Great Lakes basins to discuss a long-term vision and fundamental strategy (Integrated Pest Management; IPM) for Asian carp control as a common basis for sub-basin multi-year work plans. The workshop was hosted by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), USGS, and Illinois DNR (IL DNR) to promote the integration of science and management with IPM for controlling all four species of Asian carps.  Planning and preparation for a congressional staff delegation visit to Chicago (Electric barrier, Brandon Road Lock and Dam) in June 2018.

In addition, USGS Published a fact sheet with an overview of USGS Asian carp science (https://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2016/3063/fs20163063.pdf), provided updates to the USGS Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Asian carp website (https://www.usgs.gov/ecosystems/invasive-species-program/science/asian-carp), and provided project updates for annual Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee meetings and Asiancarp.us.

USGS communication and outreach efforts resulted in greater understanding of Asian carp control technology for the management community. Interaction between scientists developing technologies and the expected technology users facilitates greater potential for successful technology transfer 

 

Publications

Boldt, J.A., and Martin, Z.W., 2017, Multibeam bathymetry and sediment depth data at select locations on the Des Plaines River near Joliet, Illinois, February 13–14, 2017: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7K935SH.

Davis, J.J., Jackson, P.R., Engel, F.L., LeRoy, J.Z., Neeley, R.N., Finney, S.T. and Murphy, E.A., 2016, Entrainment, retention, and transport of freely swimming fish in junction gaps between commercial barges operating on the Illinois Waterway: Journal of Great Lakes Research, v. 42, i. 4, pp. 837-848, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jglr.2016.05.005.

Davis, J.J., LeRoy, J.Z., Shanks, M.R., Jackson, P.R., Engel, F.L., Murphey, E.A., Baxter, C.L., Trovillion, J.C., McInerney, M.K., and Barkowski, N.A., 2017, Effects of tow transit on the efficacy of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal Electric Dispersal Barrier System: Journal of Great Lakes Research, v. 43, i. 6, pp. 1119-1131, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jglr.2017.08.013.

Engel, F. L., 2016, Miscellaneous flow discharge measurements collected downstream of Brandon Road Lock and Dam: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F7S180NN.

Engel, F.L., and Bosch, C.J., 2017, Acoustic Doppler current profiler velocity and discharge measurements collected in and near the lock chamber of Brandon Road Lock and Dam, Joliet, Illinois, USA in December 2014: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7P26X39.

Engel, F.L., and Krahulik, J.R., 2016, Bathymetric survey of the Brandon Road Dam Spillway, Joliet, Illinois: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F73F4MRV.

Engel, F.L., Jackson, P.R., and Murphy, E.A., 2018, Flow hydraulics and mixing characteristics in and downstream from Brandon Road Lock, Joliet, Illinois: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5094, 32 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185094.

Jackson, P.R., 2016, Rhodamine WT dye concentration profiles measured at fixed stations in the Brandon Road Lock chamber near Rockdale, Illinois (October 20, 2015): U.S. Geological Survey data release, http://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F77W69B7.

Jackson, P.R., 2016, Rhodamine WT dye concentrations measured at fixed locations in the Des Plaines River near Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Rockdale, Illinois (October 20-21, 2015): U.S. Geological Survey data release, http://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F74747Z7.

Jackson, P.R., 2016, Spatial distribution of Rhodamine WT dye concentration measured in the Des Plaines River near Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Rockdale, Illinois (October 20-21, 2015): U.S. Geological Survey data release, http://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F70G3H8C.

Jackson, P.R., and Engel, F.L., 2016, Water surface elevation in the Brandon Road Lock chamber near Rockdale, Illinois (October 19-21, 2015): U.S. Geological Survey data release, http://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F7VQ30S2.

Jackson, P.R., Engel, Frank, Murphy, E.A., and Zinger, J.A., 2016, Hydroacoustic measurements of velocities in and near the rake-to-box junction gap of a moving, fully-loaded commercial barge tow: U.S. Geological Survey data release, http://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F7445JMT.

Kolar, C.S., and Morrison, S.S., 2016, USGS science and technology help managers battle invading Asian carp: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2016-3063, 4 p., http:/dx.doi.org/10.3133/fs20163063.

LeRoy, J.Z., Jackson, P.R., and Engel, F.L., 2017, Velocity profiling at the US Army Corps of Engineers Electric Dispersal Barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal during passage of fully loaded commercial tows in August 2016: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7K35RTP.

 

Contributions

  • This project was funded under the Invasive Species Focus Area to help protect the Great Lakes from invasive Asian carps.

 

Partners

  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
  • Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IL DNR)
  • Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IN DNR)
  • Southern Illinois University (SIU)
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)
  • Purdue University (PU)