The Nature Conservancy proposes an AIS prevention solution to stop invasive species movement

Lock treatment system more effective, less costly than another electric barrier


The Nature Conservancy recommends consideration of an AIS Lock Treatment System at Brandon Road, a solution that will be effective at preventing the transfer of aquatic invasive species (AIS) through the Chicago Area Waterways System (CAWS).
CAWS is an important entryway to the larger Great Lakes system. Ten AIS – including Asian carp – could enter the Great Lakes through CAWS, threatening the recreational and commercial fisheries valued at more than $7 billion annually. AIS pose a significant economic threat to business and consumers in the Great Lakes region.
Brandon Road Lock is the right place to build an AIS Lock Treatment System. Any potential invader that floats, swims, or is attached to shipping vessels, must pass through this lock from the Mississippi River basin in order to enter the Great Lakes. The AIS Lock Treatment System h is the ONLY concept on the table that prevents passage of the full range of potentially invasive species while maintaining navigation. It is more effective than an electrical barrier at Brandon Road and is less costly at $43 million. The total cost for the US Army Corps’ Tentatively Selected Plan is $275 million, of which $161 million is associated with the electric barrier.

How AIS Lock Treatment System Works:
1. Boats pass through initial determent methods (complex noise and water jets) into a treatment chamber.
2. Chamber gates are closed and the water is chemically treated to kill all organisms to prevent passage.
3. Chamber water is detoxified and the vessel is released to continue its journey.

The Nature Conservancy has commissioned a study by the US Geological Survey (USGS) to determine best treatment options to stop all species. TNC also contracted with CH2M, a large engineering firm, to complete a conceptual design of an AIS Lock Treatment System. Chlorine was chosen as it is highly effective, yet used nationally as a safe water treatment agent.
The Nature Conservancy strongly encourages the Corps to use this information and complete the AIS Lock Treatment design at Brandon Road Lock.
For more information on AIS, please visit: or reach out to one of the contacts listed.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.