Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles This video was made possible by CuriosityStream. Get the CuriosityStream/Nebula bundle deal, currently on sale for just over a dollar a month, at CuriosityStream.com/HAI. Alright, so my writer wrote quite possibly the corniest, lamest, and all-around worst intro I've ever seen for this video, so I decided to cut it, save you all from the pain, and get right to it by saying the Asian Carp, as an invasive species, is really, really bad—almost as bad as that intro. You see, back in the 1970s, a series of fish—bighead carp, silver carp, grass carp, and black carp—were intentionally brought to the US to eat algae in contained aquaculture facilities, and in the grand American tradition of lumping several distinct groups into one big group and calling them all Asian, we decided to call this set of four Asian carp. Now, seeing as it was 1970 and nobody had seen Jurassic Park yet, people assumed these dangerous animals would never escape and cause greater problems—but of course, carp, uh, found a way, when thanks to flooding, Asian carp were flushed out of their controlled habitats and into the Mississippi River Basin. Now, why are Asian carp such a threat? Well, it's because like Asian manufacturers, they outcompete the Americans. To start, they eat a ton: between 5 to 20 percent of their body weight in plankton a day—which is a problem, because when they aren't running failed restaurants, plankton are usually eaten by native ciscos, bloaters, and yellow perch, which are in turn eaten by lake trout and walleyes. Plus, Asian carp don't really have any effective North American natural predators, in part because they grow quickly and bigly—a fully grown bighead carp can get up to 110 pounds, which is the weight of a five year old, if the five year old was like, really fat. Basically, Asian carp come into other fish's native land, steal or kill off their food, and force them out of their homes—which really makes you wonder why they aren't called American carp. The other reason Asian carp are a problem has less to do with native fish populations, and more to do with the fact that boaters generally dislike being smacked in the face by large fish—which silver carp tend to do quite a lot, often jumping up to ten feet out of the water, leaving boaters with serious injuries, and the chilling risk of having a tombstone that reads “slapped to death by a fish.” Now, it's far too late to save the Illinois River from these flying, feeding fiends—in fact, in some areas of the river, Asian carp already make up 90% of the biomass. The problem now is that the Asian carp-infested Illinois River is connected to the currently Asian carp-less Lake Michigan, thanks to the catchily-named Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, which was built back in 1900 when engineers reversed the direction of the Chicago River in one of America's top five most epic mother nature pwns. If Asian carp managed to get to Lake Michigan, they would threaten the lake's $7 billion fishing industry, which relies on native fish species, and its $16 billion recreational boating industry, which relies on people not being smacked in the face by 60-pound carp. And the carp are getting close: by 2019, there was confirmed spawning within 88 miles of lake Michigan, potential spawning within 62 miles, an adult population front within 47 miles, and three Asian carp have been captured past the electric barrier here that's currently the primary line of defense, with the closest found only seven miles away. So we need a way to keep out the carp—in other words, a carpet cleaner. For a while, they considered cutting off the Illinois River from Lake Michigan entirely, which would re-reverse the flow of the Chicago River, but that plan was ultimately abandoned because it would interrupt shipping routes. But allowing ships to be able to travel down this waterway, while simultaneously blocking Asian carp is a pretty difficult problem, especially when you consider that 4 out of 5 dentists agree that boats are bigger than carp. In the end, though, American ingenuity and bloated government spending came together to plan this: an $800 million project at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam, to be completed by 2027, which basically consists of building an over-engineered Saw-like Asian carp hallway of doom. It all starts with a flushing lock, which is designed get rid of floating larvae and eggs. As any big boy knows, flushing is important, but that's especially true here, considering a single female bighead carp can lay up to 1.9 million eggs a year. Basically, when a boat comes to the lock, one side will open, letting in the boat, but also letting in potentially carp egg-infested water. But then, thanks to the power of flushing, that water will be shoved back into Illinois River, lowering the water level, and the boat. Then the front of the lock can close, the back can open, and boat can continue on its merry way. After the boat continues down an engineered channel, it'll arrive at the acoustic fish deterrent, which is coastal elite science talk for a series of giant underwater speakers that shoot noise at fish, who apparently hate that sort of thing. They carefully considered what sound would annoy the fish most, and after almost going with early Wendover video voiceovers, they decided to use sounds waves at the resonant frequency of Asian carp's swim bladder, which should cause them to turn back. Next is the fish taser, which the Army Corps of Engineers insists on calling an electric dispersal barrier because they hate fun. The fish taser is just what it sounds like: you put steel electrodes on the bottom of the channel, you pulse direct current through it, and it creates an electric field that's conducted through the water, causing the fish to turn around, because as the documentary Pokemon taught us, electricity is super effective against water types. Finally, the Army Corps of Engineers planned one, final, terrifying, dare I say sinister, defense: air bubbles. Or more specifically, an air bubble curtain, which just shoots up air bubbles because apparently the science smart talk fish nerds say that tends to scare away carp. And if they manage to get through all of that, then I for one welcome our new carp overlords. As you toil in the soon to be carp-overlord-run human mines, perhaps you can use your water-money to buy the Nebula/CuriosityStream bundle. As you probably know by now, Nebula is full of content from your favorite educational creators, and also from me: there's my three-part trivia show, the HAI bricks special, early access to ad-free versions of regular videos, and even a new Wendover Original coming in a few weeks. And with the bundle, you also get access to CuriosityStream's thousands of top-quality documentaries, like their great original Engineering The Future, which is about engineering wind energy, and not air bubble curtains. Right now, the Nebula/CuriosityStream bundle is on sale for less than $15 for the entire year, so make sure to head over to CuriosityStream.com/HAI, get the bundle deal, and help support myself and tons of other independent creators.