U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service officials are testing some creative tactics in the battle to keep Asian carp out of Barkley Lake in Kentucky and Tennessee, with an eye toward using the system elsewhere if it works. The new Bio-Acoustic Fish Fence (BAFF) at Barkley Lock will use flashing white lights, low-level noises and streams of bubbles to frighten the fish away. FWS officials say the deterrents pose no threat to boaters, Shelley Byrne reports for The Waterways Journal Weekly.

"The fish fence is part of a three-year experiment in which biologists will track bighead silver carp fitted with transmitters to see if the BAFF limits their passage from the Cumberland River into Barkley Lake," Byrne reports. West Coast fisheries use a similar system with trout and salmon.

Rob Simmonds, a fish biologist at the regional FWS office in Bloomington, Minn., told Byrne that officials are still installing some survey parts and other last-minute actions, but the primary structures are in place and working. FWS "turned on the fence Oct. 21 on the downstream side of the lock in Grand Rivers, Ky. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ended navigation closures that were in conjunction with the construction Oct. 30," Byrne reports. "The structure’s christening is scheduled for Nov. 8," this Friday.

Simmonds said Lake Barkley was an ideal place to test the system since there is already an Asian carp population and Kentucky has been aggressive in trying to address the problem. If it works well, other agencies will likely want to replicate it, Byrne reports.

"The project cost roughly $7 million and was funded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative through the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee’s Asian Carp Action Plan" and FWS base funding, Byrne reports. "The project involves multiple agencies and partners, including USFWS, the Nashville Engineer District, the Kentucky Fish & Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency."