Electric Fish Barrier Ready to Protect Iowa Great Lakes

Posted: 02/26/2013 SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa – The electric fish barrier that will keep Asian carp from entering the Iowa Great Lakes through the Lower Gar Lake outlet is in place and operational. All that remains to be completed for the nearly $1 million project is final site restoration. Mike Hawkins, fisheries biologist with the Iowa … Read more

Additional zebra mussels collected in Lakes area

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has found a small number of additional zebra mussels in the Iowa Great Lakes. The DNR released a press release this week about the discovery.

Fish Barrier Nears Completion

Last fall the lakes area was jolted awake by reports that Asian carp were found in East Okoboji and Spirit Lake. Both bighead and silver Asian carp were found, with the silver carp carrying the reputation as the “jumping fish”. After several meetings with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Bureau the lakes community … Read more

Asian Carp Threaten MN River

KECY TV – Mankato Giant, flying fish may soon be a potential danger in the Minnesota River. Asian Carp have been present in the Missouri River system for some time, but during the floods in 2011 they made their way to lakes and streams in southwestern Minnesota. To someone who doesn’t know much about fishing, … Read more

Fish Barrier Update

Courtesy Mike Hawkins, Iowa DNR As you can see the footings for the new wing walls have been poured.  The insulcrete mix is still causing some workability issues, but has improved since the initial pour on the building pad.  I watched on Friday as the concrete got very thick and sticky towards the end of the pour.  The contractor … Read more

Construction on the Fish Barrier has begun

By Mike Hawkins Iowa DNR Although no dirt has moved at the site of the new electric fish barrier, it doesn’t mean that things haven’t been moving forward. An engineering firm and manufacturer of electric fish barriers, Smith- Root Inc. of Vancouver Washington, was selected on June 10th by the DNR to design and engineer abarrier capable of preventing Asian carp from entering the Iowa Great Lakes.  Smith-Root will also provide construction oversight as the project moves forward. DNR staff from Fisheries, Sovereign Lands, and Floodplains have been working with the Smith-Rootover the past months to make sure contracting, permitting, and safety concerns are all being addressed.On August 27th, a set of final design plans were delivered to the DNR. The electric fish barrier will be incorporated into the existing dam which is just west of 230th Ave on theoutlet of Lower Gar Lake. Both the engineering firm and the DNR believe that this location gives the lakes the best protection from Asian carp and the lowest risk of entrapment of fish that leave the lakes.Placing the barrier someplace downstream would have the effect of stockpiling fish that leave the lake, trapping between the dam and the barrier, and potentially causing a large fish kill as water levels fell inMilford Creek.   A barrier incorporated into the dam will keep fish from moving upstream but also have an added benefit of potentially keeping fish in the lake. The existing dam will stay in place.  A 20 foot wide apron at the same elevation as the top of the dam willextend downstream. In effect, the top of the dam will be “stretched or widened” downstream. This apron slope down slightly and contain the steel electrodes that … Read more

Nebraska law cracks down on invasive carp

One fish, two fish Asian carp fish … no fish. It’s not exactly Dr. Seuss’ original story line, but it is what can happen when an invasive species such as Asian carp enters a lake. Asian carp are voracious eaters. They deplete the food supply for native fish, said Karie Decker, invasive species program coordinator … Read more

Fisheries biologist receives award

Mike Hawkins, fisheries biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources stationed at Spirit Lake, received the Ace Cory Conservation Award at the annual meeting of the Okoboji Protective Association (OPA) on July 28, at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory. The Ace Cory Conservation Award honors an individual who has contributed substantially to the betterment of the … Read more

DNR officials discuss invasive species, lake levels at Iowa Great Lakes meeting

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) gathered this week in the Iowa Great Lakes area to meet with local leaders and discuss important issues relating to lake levels and invasive species. Attendees included DNR Director Chuck Gipp, several DNR Bureau Chiefs, other local and state DNR officials, as well as Iowa Great … Read more

USA Today covers invasive species issue

After Brian Griffin pulls his boat out of West Loon Lake, a couple of weeds dangle from his trailer and propeller. One is a nice surprise: white-stemmed pondweed, an endangered plant, says Michael Adam, senior biologist for Lake County. The other is a problem: Eurasian watermilfoil.