USACE works with other agencies to aggressively monitor the Chicago Area Waterway System and the upper Illinois River to characterize downstream invasive carp populations, to monitor for the presence of the carp above the electric barriers and to analyze the effectiveness of the electric barriers.

Traditional monitoring methods include electro-fishing, netting and acoustic telemetry. Electrofishing allows for the physical capture and cataloging of fish species while telemetry tracks tagged fish through receivers placed underwater to document movement and responses to the barriers.


Individually-coded transmitters have been surgically implanted into more than 775 fish of all sizes in the Chicago Area Waterway System, resulting in over 36 million detections. Since 2011, two transmitters implanted into Common Carp downstream of the barriers have been located upstream, although no detections were observed at barrier receivers. The most plausible explanation is assisted passage via barge entrainment; both transmitters were either expelled or the fish had expired.

Only one Bighead Carp in Lake Calumet in 2010, and one Silver Carp in the Little Calumet River in 2017, have been collected in the Chicago Area Waterway System above the electric barriers.

To view the 2021 Invasive Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (ICRCC) Monitoring and Rapid Response Plan for invasive carp in the Upper Illinois River and Chicago Area Waterway System, or invasive sampling results, visit the ICRCC website at

For questions please contact:

For more information on telemetry, please send an e-mail to

For more information on electrofishing, please send an e-mail to