The Whooshh Project

In 2020 the Illinois River Biological Station,  Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and The Nature Conservancy, along with Whooshh Innovations, Inc. began experimenting with a mobile fishway installed at the Emiquon Nature Preserve. A fishway allows for fishes to navigate past barriers like dams that may not be passable during normal water levels. This specific fishway uses a scanner with artificial intelligence software to identify fish species in real time as they pass through the system, with the potential to sort species and direct to different destinations. This data may potentially allow native fish passage past barriers while preventing the further spread of invasive species such as the bigheaded carps.

Whooshh Project
Left: The Emiquon water control structure with the mobile fishway. Top, right: Silver Carp. Bottom, right: Silver Carp and Grass Carp (Photo Credits: Kris Maxson and Whooshh Innovations Inc.).

Large River Fisheries Ecologist Kris Maxson and graduate student Kara Phelps help coordinate this project at IRBS.