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USGS Western Fisheries Research Center (WFRC) Fish Biologist, Ryan Tomka, is the winner of this issues photo contest. The image shows Ryan surgically tagging invasive silver carp in Kentucky.

Last fall, we sent one of Western Fisheries Research Center's (WFRC) most experienced (and perhaps photogenic) taggers to Kentucky to work with crews from Upper Midwest Environmental Science Center (UMESC), Columbia Environmental Research Center (CERC), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Although Western Fisheries Research Center mostly conducts work in the western United States, our expertise also takes us to other parts of the country.  Many in our team—including WFRC’s Tyson Hatton, Nick Swyers, and Matt Sholtis—have years of experience implementing systems that track the behavior of fish when they encounter man-made structures intended to prevent or facilitate their passage up or down river. In many situations, removing or improving dams or other human-made river structures can support river connectivity and help fish navigate these barriers.  Alternatively, structures and technologies can be used to control or prevent invasions of unwanted species.

Scientists and managers are looking for ways to control invasions of invasive carp. Recently a BioAcoustic Fish Fence (BAFF) was installed at Barkley Lock and Dam in Kentucky. The goal of the BAFF is to prevent invasive carp access to the locks and protect hundreds of miles in the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers upstream of the locks. The BAFF sends a curtain of bubbles, sound and light from the riverbed to the water surface, which deters noise-sensitive invasive carp from entering the lock chamber. Our team has been working with partners to assess the effectiveness of this fish passage control tool.

Surgically tagging invasive sliver carp in Kentucky
USGS, Western Fisheries Research Center scientist tagging an invasive silver carp with an acoustic transmitter to evaluate the effectiveness of a BioAcoustic Fish Fence (BAFF) to deter upstream migration of invasive carp at Barkley Lock and Dam, Kentucky in October 2022.

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