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Independent Evaluations of Smith-Root Electric Barriers for Fish Guidance and/or Invasive Species Control (from Publications in Peer-Reviewed Science Journals)

Verrill, D.D. and C.R. Berry. 1995. Effectiveness of an Electrical Barrier and Lake Drawdown for Reducing Common Carp and Bigmouth Buffalo Abundances. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 15: 137-141.

Barrier Type: {bsd-type:label}; for Invasive Species Control.

Synopsis: The authors evaluated the effectiveness of a Smith-Root Graduated Field Fish Barrier to deter upstream movement of exotic, undesirable species. Of 1,600 dart-tagged fish released downstream of the electric barrier, none were found in an examination of 3,376 fish caught upstream of the barrier. The authors concluded that the electric barrier was effective in blocking upstream fish migration.

Abstract

Verrill, D.D. and C.R. Berry. 1995. Effectiveness of an Electrical Barrier and Lake Drawdown for Reducing Common Carp and Bigmouth Buffalo Abundances. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 15: 137-141.

An overabundance of common carp Cyprinus carpio and bigmouth buffalo Ictiobus cyprinellus in North and South Heron lakes, Minnesota, has hindered production of food plants for waterfowl. These shallow (maximum depth, 1.5 m), turbid lakes are partially drawn down each winter. Common carp were radio-tracked in both lakes during the winters of 1991 and 1992 to monitor their movements and survival. Four of six radio-tagged fish died during the first winter because of low water, but all of an additional 12 radio-tagged common carp survived the second winter. The fish overwintered in water 28-50 cm deep under about 40 cm of ice cover. To assess the ability of an electrical barrier across the outlet stream to prevent migration into the Heron lakes basin, 1,600 common carp and bigmouth buffalo were marked with dart lags and released downstream from the barrier. No tagged fish were among the 3,376 fish caught upstream from the barrier. Catches of the two species per unit gillnetting effort in South Heron Lake were lower in August 1992 than in August 1991, suggesting that lake-level drawdown and the electrical barrier reduced both populations.

Swink, W.D. 1999. Effectiveness of an Electrical Barrier in Blocking a Sea Lamprey Spawning Migration on the Jordan River, Michigan. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 19: 397-405.

Barrier Type: {bsd-type:label}; for Invasive Species Control.

Synopsis: This author evaluated a Smith-Root Graduated Field Fish Barrier for its effectiveness in deterring upstream movement by invasive sea lampreys. No unmarked sea lampreys and none of 1,194 tagged sea lampreys (released downstream of the barrier) were found in areas upstream of the electric barrier. This author concluded that “This mark–recapture study provides convincing evidence that the pulsed-DC electrical barrier is fully effective at blocking migrations of spawning-phase sea lampreys in the Jordan River and should be applicable to other streams.”

Abstract

Swink, W.D. 1999. Effectiveness of an Electrical Barrier in Blocking a Sea Lamprey Spawning Migration on the Jordan River, Michigan. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 19: 397-405.

Mark-recapture studies indicated that a pulsed-DC electrical barrier set to a 2-ms pulse width and 10 pulses/s completely blocked the spawning migration of sea lampreys Petromyzon marinus in the Jordan River, Michigan. Capture efficiency of fyke nets averaged 24% for four groups, about 300 tagged sea lampreys each, released upstream of the barrier; no unmarked sea lampreys and none of the 1,194 sea lampreys tagged and released downstream of the barrier were captured in the fyke nets while the barrier was energized. At a lower pulsator setting (1-ms pulse width; 10 pulses/s), 1 of 900 sea lampreys released below the barrier was recaptured in the nets. Sea lampreys from downstream were captured in the fyke nets after the barrier was de-energized, indicating that the barrier should remain in operation later than mid-July. Both sea lampreys and teleosts exposed to the electrical field were stunned but exhibited no apparent damage at either barrier setting. The pulsed-DC electrical barrier should help reduce the use of chemical lampricides for controlling sea lampreys in some Great Lakes streams and would be particularly suited for streams where even the smallest low-head barrier would create an unacceptably large impoundment.

Clarkson, R.W. 2004. Effectiveness of Electrical Fish Barriers Associated with the Central Arizona Project. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 24: 94-105.

Barrier Type: {bsd-type:label}; for Invasive Species Control.

Synopsis: Although the author did not directly measure the efficiencies of these Arizona barriers to stop the upstream movements of invasive fish species, he did assess the issues of keeping Graduated Field Fish Barriers operating in extremely remote locations. Over 12 years of operation (up to 103,680 possible operating hours) barrier outages totaled just over 100 hours (a “down-time” of 0.001%). Clarkson addresses the challenges of equipment monitoring failures, lightning strikes, maintenance lapses, non-replenished diesel fuel, training lapses, and the issues of having these barriers operated and maintained by up to three separate parties. This paper describes some of the very first Graduated Field Fish Barriers ever built (1988) and its findings offer many “lessons learned.” The issue is not necessarily that these dated barriers do not stop fish. It is in keeping the barriers operational.

Abstract

Clarkson, R.W. 2004. Effectiveness of Electrical Fish Barriers Associated with the Central Arizona Project. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 24: 94-105.

The Central Arizona Project (CAP) canal delivers Colorado River water into the Gila River basin. During its planning and construction, issues arose regarding the unwanted entrainment and transport of nonindigenous fishes and other aquatic biota into, through, and out of the canal. One control strategy was the emplacement of electrical fish barriers on two CAP distributary canals to prevent fishes from moving upstream into the Gila River drainage. The operation, maintenance, and effectiveness of these barriers are described for the period 1988–2000. Documented outages totaled more than 100 h, representing less than 0.001% downtime since installation. It is nearly certain that outages allowed immigration by undesired fish(es). Immigrations that occurred when the barriers were operating according to design criteria indicate that the barriers do not totally block the passage of upstream-migrating fish. The proximate sources of electrical barrier outage included component damage from lightning strikes, component breakdowns, failure to adhere to component maintenance and replacement schedules, failure to incorporate adequate protection and redundancies to certain system components, inadequate training of personnel, and unknown causes. Known outages of remote monitoring systems (which are necessary to document outages and understand the potential for undocumented barrier outages) totaled more than 400 d, representing about 3% of the period of barrier operations. The complexity of electrical barrier systems and the problems such intricacy creates for operation and monitoring may always preclude absolute effectiveness. Additional refinements to system components, personnel training, and operation procedures may reduce barrier failures but add further to that complexity. Management agencies will have to determine the cost-effectiveness of such refinements.

Maceina, M.J., J.W. Slipke and J.M. Grizzle. 1999. Effectiveness of Three Barrier Types for Confining Grass Carp in Embayments of Lake Seminole, Georgia. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 19: 968-976.

Barrier Type: {bsd-type:label}; for Retention of a Desirable Species.

Synopsis: The authors compared the effectiveness of two conventional weir-type barriers with an electric barrier designed by Smith-Root (to keep desirable triploid grass carp from escaping Lake Seminole). Whereas fish tagging studies showed escape rates as high as 68% from the conventional barriers, no verified escapes occurred after fitting the V-shaped funnel barrier with a graduated-field, electric deterrence array. They concluded that electric barrier technology had the potential to provide managers with tools to confine grass carp to specific areas of large water bodies.

Abstract

Maceina, M.J., J.W. Slipke and J.M. Grizzle. 1999. Effectiveness of Three Barrier Types for Confining Grass Carp in Embayments of Lake Seminole, Georgia. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 19: 968-976.

Three types of barriers were evaluated in Lake Seminole (13,158 ha) to determine the success of confining triploid grass carp Ctenopharyngodon idella in two embayments (250 and 350 ha) that were almost entirely covered with submersed macrophytes. In 1995, two different physical barriers that permitted boat passage were constructed. One had tandem V-shaped weirs placed at the entrance of a cove, and the other had two gated barriers that confined an embayment connecting two arms of the reservoir. Grass carp were radio-tagged, stocked into the confined areas (N = 119 for the V-shaped barrier and N = 69 for the gated barrier), and tracked from December 1995 through September 1997 to estimate escape rates. In addition, 18,000 triploid grass carp fitted with coded wire tags were stocked in December 1995 into the two confined areas. A low-voltage (3–4 V) electric barrier (Smith-Root, Inc.) was installed in December 1997 at one of the V-shaped funnel barriers, and an additional 84 grass carp were radio-tagged and tracked for 13 months. Based on verified locations outside the confined areas, an average of 9% of the grass carp escaped through the V-shaped, and 23% escaped through the gated barriers each year. However, based on missing fish, tag functioning rates determined from dead fish or expelled tags, and locations of fish before becoming missing, potentially up to 42% of the grass carp escaped from the V-shaped barriers and 35% escaped electrofishing surveys conducted in summer 1998 downstream of the tailrace in the Apalachicola River, Florida, indicated that 68% of the grass carp were escaped fish (coded wire tag present)that were stocked nearly 3 years earlier into the confined areas. After the V-shaped barrier was fitted with an electric barrier, no verified escapes occurred and with the exception of one fish, every radio-tagged grass carp was found within the confined area. Therefore, the maximum escape rate was only 1.3% per year, if this fish did indeed escape. Thus, the electric barrier and confinement structure have the potential to provide managers with a tool to confine grass carp in specific areas of large water bodies. Over many years, control of excessive aquatic macrophytes with this system is about 10% of the cost of herbicide treatments or mechanical harvesting.

Sparks, R.E., T.L. Barkley, S.M. Creque, J.M. Dettmers and K.M. Stainbrook. 2010. Evaluation of an Electric Fish Dispersal Barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. American Fisheries Society Symposium 74: 139-161.

Barrier Type: {bsd-type:label}; for Invasive Species Control. (Flows in the Chicago Ship Canal are predominately in a downstream direction but reversals occur. Thus this barrier controls both upstream and downstream-moving fish.)

Synopsis: In this study by agency scientists and consultants, 130 common carp surrogates were radio-tagged and released downstream of the Smith-Root Graduated Field Fish Barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. Fish were radio-tracked over a 4-year period (2002-2006) to determine whether any tagged specimens breached the electric barrier. Except for a single fish (a motionless transmitter that researchers believe to have been a dead fish swept just upstream of the barrier by a passing barge), none of the radio-tagged individuals were relocated above the deterrence array.

Abstract

Sparks, R.E., T.L. Barkley, S.M. Creque, J.M. Dettmers and K.M. Stainbrook. 2010. Evaluation of an Electric Fish Dispersal Barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. American Fisheries Society Symposium 74: 139-161.

In 1990, the U.S. Congress authorized the Army Corps of Engineers to study barriers to prevent the downstream movement of round gobies Apollonia (formerly Neogobius) melanostomus and other harmful, invasive fishes from southern Lake Michigan through the Chicago canal system into the Illinois River (a tributary of the Mississippi River). A demonstration electric barrier was activated too late (April 18, 2002) to block the gobies, but it was the only barrier to upstream movement of Asian carps from the Illinois River to Lake Michigan and provided useful information for design of a second, improved barrier (Barrier 2). We surgically implanted combined radio-and-acoustic transmitters in 130 common carp Cyprinus carpio that we released 20 m downstream of the demonstration barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to assess the ability of the barrier to prevent upstream passage of fish. Movements of these fish were monitored from April 2002 through December 2006, within and beyond the 8.7-km reach bounded upstream by the electric barrier and downstream by the Lockport Dam and Lock. Fixed hydrophones and radio antennas continuously monitored the canal immediately upstream and downstream of the barrier for signals from the transmitters. In addition, 32 surveys were conducted with boat-mounted receivers to locate transmitters that were out of range of the fixed receivers. The fixed receivers detected 109 of the 130 transmitters; most detections occurred within a few days after release of the fish. The tracking boat located 120 of the transmitters at least once and 100 at least twice. Most of the transmitters remained well downstream of the barrier and upstream of the lock, but one moved downstream beyond the lock, one passed upstream through the barrier, four moved upstream within 60–400 m of the barrier after moving downstream, and three remained at the release point for their entire battery life, indicating that the fish had died or the transmitters had been expelled. On two occasions, common carp were visually observed within half a meter of the surface (the limit of visibility) at the barrier. These fish were not observed to move beyond the downstream margin of the electric field. The traverse of the barrier on April 3, 2003 occurred at the same time as a tow was passing. A tow consists of steel barges that are lashed together and pushed by a diesel-powered boat. The tow may have facilitated the passage of the fish, either by entraining the fish or by distorting the electric field. The tracking boat detected the transmitter upstream of the barrier on April 10, 2003. The transmitter did not move more than 100 m during the remaining life of the transmitter, indicating that the fish was probably dead. After we reported the passage, Smith-Root, Inc. (operators of the electric barrier, under contract to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) increased the duty cycle of the electric field by fivefold. We did not detect any further passages of transmitters, suggesting that the existing electric field (Barrier 1) prevented upstream movement of adult common carp and that the new, improved barrier, in combination with Barrier 1, may be effective against the more recently introduced Asian carps. The response of Asian carps to electric barriers still needs further study because the behavior of the Asian carps differs from common carp. Also, there are ways these carps could bypass Barriers 1 and 2 that need to be addressed. These potential bypasses may explain the recent detections of DNA shed from these carps in canal water upstream from the barriers.

Moy, P.B., I. Polls and J.M. Dettmers. 2011. The Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal Aquatic Nuisance Species Dispersal Barrier. American Fisheries Society Symposium 74: 121-137.

Barrier Type: {bsd-type:label}; for Invasive Species Control. (Flows in the Chicago Ship Canal are predominately in a downstream direction but reversals occur. Thus this barrier controls both upstream and downstream-moving fish.)

Synopsis: The authors state that “The demonstration barrier has been effective in repelling radio-tagged common carp … and is expected to have similar effectiveness on other large fish. The new, more powerful barrier will be more effective in repelling small fish.”

Abstract

Moy, P.B., I. Polls and J.M. Dettmers. 2011. The Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal Aquatic Nuisance Species Dispersal Barrier. American Fisheries Society Symposium 74: 121-137.

The Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal is a 50 km-long, man-made canal that connects the Great Lakes and Mississippi River drainages. The canal, which is important for navigation and storm and wastewater drainage, forms an aquatic pathway for nonnative aquatic species to spread between these two major Midwestern ecosystems. Construction of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal aquatic nuisance species dispersal barrier was authorized by the National Invasive Species Act of 1996. The barrier currently consists of a micropulsed DC electric array. A demonstration barrier began operation in April 2002 and is nearing the end of its design life; a larger, longer lasting barrier is now under construction. The demonstration barrier has been effective in repelling radio-tagged common carp Cyprinus carpio and is expected to have similar effectiveness on other large fish. The new more powerful barrier will be more effective in repelling small fish. In the near term, addition of alternative technologies such as acoustic bubble arrays may augment effectiveness of the electric barrier. In the long term, separation of the Lake Michigan and Mississippi River drainages will provide the surest means of preventing the range expansion of aquatic invasive species via this pathway. Funding, authorization and existing waterway uses will continue to challenge development of a fully effective barrier system.

Palmisano, A.N. and C.V. Burger. 1988. Use of a Portable Electric Barrier to Estimate Chinook Salmon Escapement in a Turbid Alaskan River. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 8: 475-480.

Barrier Type: {bsd-type:label}; for Fish Guidance and Management.

Synopsis: The authors used a portable electric barrier to guide upstream-migrating Chinook salmon adults from a major to a minor channel in a remote Alaskan river. The two channels were separated by an island. With electrodes stretched across the major channel, fish were guided to a conventional weir and trap in the minor channel where they were captured, tagged and released. The technology allowed researchers to determine a statistically robust population estimate for management-related needs in the Kenai River Basin.

Abstract

Palmisano, A.N. and C.V. Burger. 1988. Use of a Portable Electric Barrier to Estimate Chinook Salmon Escapement in a Turbid Alaskan River. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 8: 475-480.

We developed a portable electric barrier to aid in the capture of adult Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha undergoing spawning migrations up a turbid stream in south-central Alaska. In 1981, we tagged and released 157 Chinook salmon after diverting them from the mainstem Killey River into a conventional trap with the aid of the electric barrier. On the basis of returns of tagged salmon to Benjamin Creek, a clear-water tributary of the upper Killey River, we estimated spawners in the drainage to number 8,000 fish. Two different statistical approaches to the mark-recapture data yielded similar estimates. Through several modifications of the electric barrier, we were able to reduce mortality associated with the barrier's use.

Savino, J.F., D.J. Jude and M.J. Kostich. 2001. Use of Electrical Barriers to Deter Movement of Round Goby. American Fisheries Society Symposium 26: 171-182.

Barrier Type: {bsd-type:label}; for Invasive Species Control.

Synopsis: Using voltage gradients up to 5 V/cm, the authors tested a Smith-Root downstream-deterrence, electric barrier in a Michigan stream section that was 20 m wide and up to 1 m deep, in flows from 0.3 to 0.5 cm/sec. They concluded that the scale-up stream study was virtually 100% effective in deterring round goby downstream movement because the only fish found downstream of the barrier were either dead or debilitated.

Abstract

Savino, J.F., D.J. Jude and M.J. Kostich. 2001. Use of Electrical Barriers to Deter Movement of Round Goby. American Fisheries Society Symposium 26: 171-182.

An electrical barrier was chosen as a possible means to deter movement of round goby Neogobius melanostomus. Feasibility studies in a 2.1-m donut-shaped tank determined the electrical parameters necessary to inhibit round goby from crossing the 1-m stretch of the benthic, electrical barrier. Increasing electrical pulse duration and voltage increased effectiveness of the barrier in deterring round goby movement through the barrier. Differences in activity of round goby during daytime and nocturnal tests did not change the effectiveness of the barrier. In field verification studies, an electrical barrier was placed between two blocking nets in the Shiawassee River, Michigan. The barrier consisted of a 6-m wide canvas on which were laid four cables carrying the electrical current. Seven experiments were conducted, wherein 25 latex paint-marked round goby were introduced upstream of the electrical barrier and recovered 24 h later upstream, on, and downstream of the barrier. During control studies, round goby moved across the barrier within 20 min from release upstream. With the barrier on and using the prescribed electrical settings shown to inhibit passage in the laboratory, the only marked round goby found below the barrier were dead. At reduced pulse durations, a few round goby (mean one/test) were found alive, but debilitated, below the barrier. The electrical barrier could be incorporated as part of a program in reducing movement of adult round goby through artificial connections between watersheds.
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