A new study by the Coast Guard shows that commercial as well as recreational vessels traveling through Chicago's electric fish dispersal barrier are relatively safe if current operating rules are followed. According to the Coast Guard's Research and Development Center, while risks associated with the barrier are low, certain situations may significantly increase risks. Higher risks situations like falling into the water from a boat or land and getting an electric shock. The report does make recommendations that could further such risks, according to the study.
Cmdr Scott Anderson, chief of inspections and investigations for the Coast Guard Ninth District says, “Our primary mission is to safeguard people and vessels operating on the navigable waters of the United States,” and, “Studies like these help confirm that existing regulations meet this goal and highlight areas where we can continue to improve public safety while facilitating marine commerce.”
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, in which the Coast Guard partners with 15 other agencies to rehabilitate the ecosystem's health and prevent the movement of aquatic invasive species into the Great Lakes, funded the study. The study can be found here.
The electric fish barrier system in the CSSC was built and is maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to limit the spread of various aquatic invasive species, including Asian carp, between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins.
Asian carp are non-native, invasive fish that have been migrating up the Mississippi River and its tributaries since the mid-1990s.