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Assessing the Efficacy of Oblique Bubble Screens for Control of Aquatic Invasive Species

Author(s): Vindhyawasini Prasad; Cory Suski; P. Ryan Jackson; Amy George; Duane Chapman; Jesse Fischer; Rafael Tinoco

Linked Author(s): Rafael Tinoco

Keywords: Bubble screens; Invasive species; Particle trapping; Surface Velocimetry; Grass carp

Abstract: Non-physical barriers, such as bubble screens (or curtains), are promising low-impact strategies to deter the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) in streams. Bubble screens have been successfully implemented to redirect and/or deter adult fish and to capture plastics in some rivers, but their efficacy on invasive fish at multiple life stages (eggs, larvae, and adult fish) is not yet known. Air bubbles rising from a diffuser placed at the bottom of a stream generate counterrotating eddies that interact with the mean flow. Understanding such interactions allows us to design an Oblique Bubble Screen (OBS), a system able to direct drifting particles (i.e., eggs and larvae) towards the banks of a stream for potential capture, based on the water velocity, river morphology, orientation of the OBS, diffuser material, and air flow rate. We present the results from a series of laboratory experiments at the Ecohydraulics and Ecomorphodynamics Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, using positively buoyant (specific gravity SG=0.9, and diameter d=7.09mm) and negatively buoyant (SG=1.04, d=5.9mm) spherical particles to represent the range of size and density of developing Grass carp eggs, an invasive species in North America (Ctenopharyngodon idella). An air compressor was connected to a porous tube laid at the bottom of a recirculating flume, with a regulator and a flow meter to control air pressure and air flow rate. Acoustic Doppler Velocimeters (ADV) and Surface Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) were used to measure the effect of the OBS on the velocity field. Our collected data showed that: (1) a single OBS is able to direct drifting particles towards the bank at the downstream end of the OBS, (2) adjusting orientation angle and air flow rate of the diffuser can increase capture efficacy under different flow conditions, reaching up to a 100% of capture for buoyant particles, and (3) the ratio between lateral velocity generated by the OBS (as a function of air flow rate) and the mean longitudinal flow velocities, can be used as an indicator to predict whether the OBS will be able to carry the particles all along the length of the diffuser in wider and deeper streams. The optimal configurations from our study will be tested with live Grass carp eggs and larvae, as well as with upstream-swimming adult carp to assess its potential as a two-way barrier, and to provide design parameters to set the air-flow rate and diffuser type needed for field deployments, according to width-to-depth ratios and stream morphology.


Year: 2022

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