The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a report on Monday (January 6) outlining strategies to keep Asian carp and other invasive species out of the Great Lakes.
Water locks have been installed along the Chicago Area Waterway system to prevent Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes, but carp DNA has since been detected in Lake Michigan.
The Corps considered the migration of Asian carp along with other organisms that may spread to the Great Lakes, including bloody red shrimp, grass kelp, Fishhook waterflea, and red algae, among other microorganisms.
According to the Corps, U.S. officials seem most interested in physical barriers that can completely separate the waterways. These barriers are expected to take 25 years and $15 billion to $18 billion to construct.
One of the least expensive solutions the Corps proposed — costing only around $8 billion — uses electric barriers and an updated lock system.
Electrodes powered by a control house onshore create an electric field in the waterway, shocking and repelling incoming fish.
The updated lock system is another layer of defense. Within a closed lock, water brought in by traveling boats is replaced with clean, treated water to limit the spread of invasive microorganisms.