Adapting stream barriers to remove invasive fish during their seasonal migrations

Project manager: Przemek Bajer

Funded by: Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources; Rice Creek Watershed District; Clean Water Fund


This project seeks to develop a system to remove large numbers of invasive common carp during their spawning and seasonal migrations at existing barrier sites in streams in Minnesota. In order to take advantage of carps’ strong migration instincts in spring, this project will include a newly developed fish transport system and an electric fish guidance system. The electric barrier will be placed in a stream to guide fish toward a chute, at which time they will be channeled into the Whooshh System and removed.

The Whooshh System was originally developed to move salmon safely around barriers such as dams in the western U.S., and is now being adapted for removal of carp. Once carp enter the front chamber of the Whooshh system, they are pneumatically pushed through a flexible plastic tube and into a holding pen for removal.

This project includes installing and testing the electric fish guidance system, testing and adapting the existing Whooshh system to allow for removal of carp, and laboratory work to optimize both systems. Laboratory trials may also be conducted if a species-recognition software that is currently under development by Whooshh Systems is in place by spring 2018.

Project start date: 2017

Estimated project end date: 2019

Progress and updates:

Inside look

Check out a video of researchers testing the electric guidance system below. This barrier, developed by Procom Systems, is unqiue because it is a very mild electric field to guide fish rather than stun them, and is portable so it can easily be modified to fit specific study sites. An electric barrier is used so water and debris can still flow freely. Thanks to Rice Creek Watershed District for the video!