MINNEAPOLIS - In the crusade against the Asian carp in Minnesota, it might be Lock and Dam No. 1 in the Mississippi River that could provide the perfect line of defense.
"It's a strategic location in order to stop those fish," said Steve Hirsch, the DNR Director of Ecological and Water Resources.
A new report commissioned by the DNR concludes that a barrier using sound, bubbles, and lights would be the most viable option for an Asian carp barrier at the lock and dam location. The advantage is that a barrier to deter fish would not have to span the width of the river, but would only be needed near the opening of the lock chamber.
"Asian carp are skittish fish and they are sensitive to sound," said Hirsch. "The bubbles will also look daunting and the light will encourage them to go elsewhere."
Asian carp have been spotted as far north as the mouth of the St. Croix River near Prescott, Wisc. DNR officials hope this barrier will stop their spread before it's too late.
"If they get north of Coon Rapids, they could get into Mille Lacs Lake and then other lakes," says Hirsch. "This is why we're so concerned about this."
The project could cost as high as $19 million, but close to half of the cost is already secured by state funds. Construction could begin by late Fall of 2013 and conclude in early 2014.