Updating an invasive fish and native fish passage model for locks and dams

This project will create an updated version of Computational Fluid Dynamics Agent-Based (CFD-AB) fish passage model using new field data that can better help stop invasive carps while allowing native fish to pass through Mississippi River locks and dams.

The new field data is being generated by an ongoing field study of fish behavior and passage at Lock and Dam 2. Parameters on fish behavior will then be updated in the CFD-AB fish passage model developed earlier by [Zielinski et al., 2018] to improve it. We will use this updated CFD-AB model to predict fish passage for invasive carp (silver carp, common carp) and two native fishes (channel catfish, lake sturgeon) at two model lock and dams (2 and 8). The updated CFD-AB model will allow to determine optimum spillway gate positions to stop invasive carps at these sites. We will share these new data with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Minnesota DNR.


Data is showing that if invasive carps are blocked, nearly all local fish species will be as well, because invasive carps (e.g. silver carp) are among the strongest swimmers (A. Gilmanov, J. Finger, P. Sorensen, 2019, paper in preparation). It was also shown that existing gate regulations at Lock and Dam 2 actually block passage of most native fishes and these results are consistent with field measurements provided by members of the Sorensen Lab (J. Finger, A. Riesgraf, P. Sorensen, 2019, paper in preparation). So far, our simulations have assumed that dams were approached by huge numbers of invasive Asian carp. But as Minnesota Department of Natural Resources monitoring of the Mississippi River shows, this is incorrect—only small numbers of bighead and silver carp have been found in Minnesota reaches. Adjusted calculations and modeling work is ongoing.

Project manager: Anvar Gilmanov   

Funded by: Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources

Project start date: 2018

Estimated project end date: 2019

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