Why the US Army electrifies this water

Why the US Army electrifies this water

The Chicago and Sanitary Ship Canal is the path that invasive carp would take to reach the Great Lakes. So to stop them, the US Army Corps of Engineers has installed an electric barrier. Although for obvious reasons, I didn’t get to see it close up.

Sources, apart from the interview and the team I talked to:
https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130400272
https://www.npr.org/2009/12/04/121104335/chicago-canal-flooded-with-toxin-to-kill-asian-carp
https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5542199
https://apnews.com/article/d44c3701de7847bea3b7218e1f3d3fc8
https://dnr.wi.gov/news/mediakits/mk_carpcontrol.asp

Edited by Dave Stevenson http://www.davestevenson.co.uk/
Thanks to Captain Nate at Peoria Carp Hunters https://peoriacarphunters.com/

I’m at https://tomscott.com
on Twitter at https://twitter.com/tomscott
on Facebook at https://facebook.com/tomscott
and on Instagram as tomscottgo

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30 Responses

  1. Tom Scott says:

    One of the safety rules I had to follow while filming was: don’t touch two separate metal things at the same time, just in case of stray voltages. That’s how strong the barrier is!

  2. SofronPolitis says:

    For anyone interested, a similar barrier has been proposed for the Suez canal in Egypt, to prevent fish from the Indian Ocean come to the Mediterranean. This migration is apparently facilitated by rising sea temperatures, and invasive species are already making a dent on the fish of the great Med. Most of them are inedible too (or even toxic to humans) so this is also a potential economic disaster for millions of people.

  3. Ryan says:

    If you want to learn more about this, I read a cool book on it. (And other ecological issues in the great lakes, and even the rest of the US) It’s called “The Death and Life of the Great Lakes,” very interesting and presented in an attention-grabbing way.

    • Penn Ryan says:

      I’ll add on to the doggy pile endorsing this book, it’s a great beach read for the sand dunes if lake Michigan

    • Hamel Consultancy LLC - Online Marketing and Consulting says:

      Great book. Almost wish I hadn’t read it / knew so much about all the ecological disasters, I live in Michigan in the summer and I try to talk about the stuff and most people don’t care or don’t believe it. It’s very sad and disheartening but we see it all levels from local dumping to global climate change. We are killing the planet and fast.

    • Bearorgans says:

      I love that book. Another great book about the great lakes is The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas. it also goes into great detail about the environment of the lakes.

  4. Indigomer says:

    I appreciate Tom’s professionalism. Cruising YouTube watching funny things is nice, but every now and then these informational ones done very well are a nice refresh.

  5. BlueJay says:

    What a perfect setup for Finding Nemo 2: Nemo, being small, gets pushed by a barge through the electric barrier. Now his dad has to team up with various river creatures to save his son

  6. Shane Raben says:

    One interesting thing not mentioned: the local paramedics have been given a ‘no rescue’ order. If you foolishly go into or near the electrified water and become injured, no one will come save you. The risks to the rescue personnel are too high.

  7. FruitBasket says:

    The sad part about this is that it is only delaying the inevitable because no barrier is perfect. One day a few fish will get past the barrier in a bilge or even because some idiot releases them into the Great Lakes and then the barrier will be pointless and the Great Lakes will be irreversibly changed.

    • Matt Ward Productions says:

      What it does do is allow you to section them off. You can then isolate areas, wipe out the carp in a large area, then prevent recolonisation.

    • speedy01247 says:

      its already happened in lake Erie. (but I don’t believe its inevitable, I think we could get rid of them, however the effort would be monumental, it would probably cost billions and could fail)

  8. Dthen says:

    The guy you interviewed gave a fantastic explanation and presented it really well! You lucked out by getting to talk to him. He’s great.

  9. Nobodyyounowknow says:

    Never thought Tom Scott would be visiting my town, I didn’t realize the electrified waterway was such a big deal until a bunch of videos got posted.

  10. erik zaal says:

    Hi Tom Scott, We have something similar but different in the Netherlands. There is a sluise or lock between a saltwater and freshwater that is supposed to stay separated. They originally pumped the salt water out of the bottom and pumped freshwater back in before opening the lock, but now they use bubble walls too keep the water separated. It looks really cool, and can be another interesting place video.

    • xxx says:

      Unforutnately those aren’t perfect (of course) either; the freshwaters are getting more and more saline which is a huge problem for many species. I wonder what they will do to prevent this from getting out of hand!

    • Natascha says:

      @erik zaal; Well, I guess it would keep water seperated, but not impenetrable, right?…

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