Voltage on Asian carp barrier needs to be higher to be effective

The Army Corps of Engineers said today that studies show the agency needs to turn up the electric voltage on the Asian carp barrier in the Chicago ship canal to deter small carp, but that won’t happen for a few more weeks to several months.

The voltage on the barrier is now set at 2 volts per inch and should be increased to 2.3 volts per inch, said Maj. Gen. John W. Peabody, commander of the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division for the Army Corps. Because small fish have smaller bodies, they don’t absorb the voltage as easily as larger fish. However, officials said they believe the danger of young fish getting past the barrier is low right now, because the closest reproducing population of Asian carp they have found is 116 miles south of the barrier.

However, the Corps also said it has found carp populations that could potentially spawn only 25 miles from the barrier. Other experts have said the young fish can swim nearly 40 miles in their first year

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