Anti-fish electric barrier successful during summer floods


Julia Poska | August 23, 2018

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Asian carp, found in the Iowa Great Lakes in 2011, are one of the most notorious invasive freshwater species in the Midwest (flickr).

An electric barrier between Dickinson County’s Milford Creek and the Iowa Great Lakes proved its worth this summer, protecting the lakes from invasive fish during the region’s second highest flood on record.

Invasive carp species were first found in the Great Lakes in 2011. Flooding accelerates their entry via streams by allowing them to swim upstream and over dams. Such species can disrupt food chains, ecological processes and even recreation (see invasive Asian carp body slamming boaters here).

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources installed the $1 million barrier in 2012. During floods, it ramps up its electric field to prevent fish from passing through. Floods in late June and early July were the highest since 1933.

Scientists have since found invasive fish in Milford Creek but say the barrier seems to have fenced in most, if not all of them. DNR fisheries biologist Mike Hawkins told Iowa Public Radio that if any individuals made it in, they should not be able to reproduce in the lake.

Read the full story on Iowa Public Radio.

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