US Army Corps of Engineers
Chicago District


USACE works with other agencies to aggressively monitor the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (CSSC) to characterize downstream Asian carp populations, to monitor for the presence of Asian carp above the electric barriers and also to analyze the effectiveness of the electric barriers.

Traditional monitoring methods include electro-fishing, netting and ultrasonic telemetry. Telemetry tracks tagged fish through receivers placed underwater to document movement and response to the barriers. Non-traditional methods include environmental DNA (eDNA) and Dual-Frequency Identification Sonar (DIDSON). The eDNA process works by extracting genetic material from water samples to identify the presence of Asian carp DNA in an area. It provides indications of potential presence, but it does not indicate whether the DNA is from a live fish nor does it provide information about Asian carp quantity, age, size, how they got there or how long they may have been there. DIDSON is an acoustic camera being used to observe fish behavior near the electric barriers in the CSSC. Use of the DIDSON is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and USACE.


In spring 2013, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took lead of the eDNA surveillance program.

Individually-coded transmitters have been surgically implanted into more than 5400 fish of all sizes in the Chicago Area Waterway System, resulting in over 18.2 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 being assisted passage via barge entrainment; both transmitters were either expelled or the host had expired.

To date, only a single Bighead Carp has been collected above the electric barriers, in Lake Calumet in summer 2010.

From 2010-2014, approximately 146,882 fish from 97 species have been captured by netting and electrofishing.

To view the 2016 ACRCC Monitoring and Rapid Response Plan for Asian Carp in the Upper Illinois River and Chicago Area Waterway System or the  Asian carp weekly sampling summary visit the ACRCC website at


Monitoring Multimedia:

DIDSON Camera Footage:


Filtering Water Samples for eDNA Analysis:

Ultrasonic Telemetry:


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

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

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

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