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Conservation Engineering


Chicago 2A Fish Barrier: Illinois

Conservation Weather Station

The Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal connects the Mississippi River system with the Great Lakes and is a likely path for invasive Asian Carp to follow to enter the Great Lakes.

Electric Fish Barrier Drawing

Migration of the invasive Asian Carp through the Mississippi River system into the Great Lakes has the potential to devastate native fisheries throughout the region. Smith-Root, an environmental engineering firm, has developed a proprietary technology for an electric fish barrier to prevent such migration. Their technology uses the most efficient electric field pattern for guiding the fish with minimal environmental impact.

In September 2011 Smith-Root installed an Orion 420 Weather Station at the Chicago 2A Fish Barrier.The weather station provides real time measurements of average wind speed, wind gusts, wind direction, air temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure, rainfall, and solar radiation intensity. Using a Weather MicroServer (also from Columbia Weather Systems), data is automatically uploaded to the Weather Underground. (Click here to go view the WU page.)

Project engineer Doug Malone listed the reasons they selected the Orion 420 Weather Station from Columbia Weather Systems:

  • No moving parts on the wind speed and direction sensor,
  • No moving parts on the rainfall sensor,
  • Availability of guyed tripod,
  • Ability to upload data to wunderground.com, and
  • Availability of 4-20mA sensor outputs for use with our data acquisition system

"We are using the data as part of a site evaluation to determine the viability of photovoltaic and/or wind turbine installation for onsite renewable energy production," Malone reported. "We have been extremely pleased with the installation support received from Columbia Weather and also the reliability of the equipment. We are a happy customer!"

As a conservation company, Smith-Root is not only interested in conserving the fish stock, but all our natural resources. The hope is that the site can generate electricity that is used by the fish barrier through the installation of wind turbines and/or photovoltaic panels.

Founded in 1964, Smith-Root has long been a respected member of the aquatic resource conservation community supplying fish researchers, managers and hatchery personnel with quality fisheries sampling technologies and products. With on-site manufacturing facilities, Smith-Root produces a full-line of electrofishing, fish guidance, and electroanesthesia equipment to aid in fish restoration and recovery operations in various aquatic settings.