You know that expensive electric barrier erected to keep carp out of the Great Lakes?
Uh, well, that isn’t working so well, according to a new report from the Army Corps of Engineers. That’s because small fish can ride in on the flow behind barges crossing the barrier.
In a new report, the Corps says the following:
"Initial findings indicate that vessel-induced residual flows can trap fish and transport them beyond the electrical barriers, and that certain barge configurations may impact barrier electric field strength. Additionally, the preliminary (sonar camera) findings identified the potential for small fish (between 2-4 inches in length) to pass the barrier array in large groups, or schools."
Crews dropped in a camera 10 minutes at a time to see what was happening. In 61 percent of the 72 samples, they saw entire schools of fish, “not believed to be Asian carp,” swimming through.
But not to worry:
"There is no evidence that Asian carp are bypassing the barriers. Nor is there any indication that Asian carp are in the vicinity of the barriers," states the report. "The closest adult Asian carp found in the Illinois River are about 55 miles from Lake Michigan, and no small Asian carp have been observed closer than 131 miles from Lake Michigan."
So . . . it’s okay that we are spending millions of dollars to maintain a barrier that doesn’t work because, well, it doesn’t have to work because the Corps says the invaders are far, far away and don’t pose a threat.
Gee, that makes me feel so much better. I have to wonder, though, if the Corps is as competent at estimating the threat as it is at defending against it.