The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District is initiating scoping under the National Environmental Policy Act to evaluate measures and alternatives to manage and prevent the spread of invasive carp in the Tennessee River, Cumberland River and northern section of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, as authorized by Section 509 of the Water Resource Development Act of 2020.

Through this authority, USACE will implement a prevention pilot program to identify up to 10 projects within the study area that will manage and prevent further spread of these species. USACE is seeking public input on the potential environmental and economic impacts of installing invasive carp barriers in these waterways. Invasive carp are a major concern in the Mississippi River basin. Movement through lock systems is the primary means of upstream migration into tributaries, such as the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers.

Invasive carp are in direct competition with native aquatic species for food and habitat and pose a major threat to the ecology, environment, economy and safety. This NEPA review will address the extent of four exotic carp species into these waterways based on data from multiple federal and state resource agencies. This study will develop feasible alternatives to best manage and prevent the spread of invasive carp using innovative technologies, methods and measures. USACE will evaluate these alternatives for select pilot projects to prohibit further migration of invasive carp into unaffected waters.

USACE proposes to review management measures to include barrier systems that function as deterrents to curtail migration of invasive carp into unaffected waterways. These measures would be placed at locks either as singular systems or in combination to address site-specific conditions as needed.

Proposed management measures include:

• Underwater Acoustic Deterrent System — consists of an underwater installed apparatus with speakers that produce various loud sounds to repel carp away from the lock or dam.

• Bio-acoustic Fish Fence — sends a curtain of bubbles, sound and light from the riverbed to the water surface, which deters noise sensitive invasive carp from entering the lock chamber.

• Carbon Dioxide Infusion — consists of a process infusing water with recycled CO2 gas to discourage the movement of invasive carp by avoiding the soda-like water.

• Electrical current barrier — consists of a barrier located along the waterway that emits electrical current which doesn’t electrocute the carp, but repels them when they encounter the strong electrical field.

This letter serves to solicit scoping comments from the public, federal, state, local agencies and officials, Indian tribes and other interested parties to consider and evaluate the impacts of this study’s proposed activity, as part of USACE planning process and in accordance with National Environmental Policy Act process.

It encourages comments not only regarding resources in the immediate study area, but also of plans and proposals for any other development that may impact or influence project resources. Comments would be used to assess effects of any proposed actions to the human environment. This letter also serves to initiate the public involvement requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended.

Section 509 of WRDA authorizes no more than 10 projects to be carried out in the pilot program. The evaluation will prioritize 10 locations from the following project sites:

Tennessee River locations• Kentucky Lake Lock and Dam (Kentucky)

• Pickwick Lake Lock and Dam (Tennessee)

• Wilson Lock and Dam (Alabama)

• Wheeler Lock and Dam (Alabama)

• Guntersville Lock and Dam (Alabama)

• Nickajack Lock and Dam (Tennessee)

• Chickamauga Lock and Dam (Tennessee)

• Watts Bar Lock and Dam (Tennessee)

• Melton Hill Lock and Dam (Tennessee)

• Fort Loudon Lock and Dam (Tennessee)

Cumberland River locations• Barkley Lake Lock and Dam (Kentucky)

• Cheatham Lock and Dam (Tennessee)

• Old Hickory Lock and Dam (Tennessee)

• Cordell Hull Lock and Dam (Tennessee)

Tennessee-Tombigbee location• Bay Springs Lake Whitten Lock and Dam (Mississippi)

It requests comments be sent by email to no later than 30 calendar days from the date of the letter. If someone is unable to access an email account, they may send written comments to the address on the letterhead, ATTN: CELRN-PMP — Invasive Carp. For additional information regarding the study, contact Kathleen McConnell at 251-323-2533. Participation is greatly appreciated.