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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District
Programs & Project Management
180 5th St. E., Suite 700
St. Paul MN 55101

(651) 290-5755.


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Posted 9/12/2016

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Updated March 2018

Description of Problem

Bighead and silver carp (Asian carp) continue to be species of concern in the Upper Mississippi and Ohio rivers.  They grow rapidly to 60 pounds or more.  Their feeding habits cause turbidity in the waters where they feed, altering the habitat that supports native species.  While Lock 19 on the Mississippi River, with its lack of moveable dam gates, has slowed the spread upstream, both bighead and silver carp have established reproducing populations as far upstream as Pool 17 in southeastern Iowa. A few specimens have been captured in the Upper Mississippi River as far upstream as Pool 2 above Hastings, MN, in the St. Croix River near Bayport, MN and in the Minnesota River near New Ulm and Redwood Falls.  St. Anthony Falls in Minneapolis provides a barrier to upstream movement, ever since the Upper St. Anthony Falls lock was closed to navigation in June 2015. 


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is the federal lead on the Asian Carp issue, with the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division being the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ lead. In November 2015, the Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Association, Asian Carp Advisory Committee on which the USFWS participates, published the “Monitoring and Response Plan for Asian carp in the Mississippi River Basin.”  The plan includes best practices, sampling, monitoring and response plans, control and removal plans, and coordination and outreach plans.

Strategies for limiting upriver movement of Asian carp include acoustic and bubble barriers in the lock chambers and adjusting gate operations to make it more difficult for the carp to swim through the gated portion of dams. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District is working with other federal and state agencies to increase awareness of Asian carp behaviors and likely deterrents.  The St. Paul District is permitting the University of Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center to conduct flow modeling and field studies on Asian Carp swimming capabilities and behaviors at Locks and Dams 1, 2, 4, 5 and 8.

The St. Paul District has permitted installation of an acoustic barrier speaker system and is considering a proposal to modify dam gate operations at Lock and Dam 8 to resist the passage of Asian carp through the lock and dam.  Further investigations by the University of Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center are underway at Lock and Dam 5 for modifying gate operations and by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for the feasibility of a bubble barrier at Lock and Dam 5. 


The Corps is authorized by 33 U.S.C. Section 408 to permit alterations and modification to existing Corps projects if the proposed action does not adversely impact the project purpose and is not injurious to the public.   

Asian carp related activities are funded, as needed, out of the Special Investigations program.

aquatic invasive species Asian Carp Bighead carp Silver Carp St. Paul Distirct U.S. Army Corps of Engineers