why is it important?
Invasive fish species have a enormous impact on the local eco-system they infiltrate, and the native species that live or spawn there.
They consume significant portions of the food resources, outcompeting native species and stripping the food web of important ingredients, and frequently take over the water, shelter, and space of native species. This often results in the displacement of native plants, animals, and fish, as well as having a destructive impact on the native habitat, making it increasingly difficult for all types of native organisms to thrive.
In order to preserve the health of local species and eco-systems, invasive species removal is becoming an increasingly important capability in the management of our rivers.
what do we do?
Since our systems are responsible for assisting fish passage, we want to make sure that we are taking care as to which fish are allowed to migrate. Our automated invasive species removal systems make identifying, segregating, and refusing passage to foreign and invasive species, possible.
Species such as non-native carp, smallmouth bass, walleye, shad, and many others now can be identified and separated from the native species without human intervention. Using automated sorting with sorting gates, our systems were designed to stop the spread of invasive species reduce the harm that they are causing to native species around the world.
what is our impact?
Traditional migration barriers are not enough, the removal of invasive species is required in order to slow the spread of invasive species. The method currently performed to remove harmful invasive species from delicate habitats is a process that relies mainly on seine nets. The nets are used to scoop up as many fish as possible in areas known to be preferred by the targeted invasive species, and then the by-catch (the native fish that are collected in the process) are hand sorted, then thrown back into the water.
Our goal is to not only create a more successful and efficient way to remove invasive species and rehabilitate native habitats, but to capably measure the effectiveness of removal and recovery.
Our systems remove invasive species and rehabilitate autonomously, simultaneously allowing us to track our progress in native habitat recovery, and ensure that we are maximizing restoration abilities.
An example of the potential of our impact is the American Shad. American Shad are a non-native fish species to the west coast of the United States, and are not currently officially classified as an invasive species. However, American Shad have a well documented history of impacting the habitats in which they are introduced to.
Due to their ability to quickly spawn in large numbers, the invasive species rapidly outcompete native species, most remarkably salmon, in nutrition resources and habitat. However, because the American Shad have not yet been classified as an official invasive species, often little is done to resolve the issue and mitigate the damage they wreak on the local eco-systems, and limited funds are allocated to study the problem.
Our systems function to quickly address the unaddressed problems such as this, and we designed them so that while simultaneously passaging native species, we can sort out invasive species such as the American Shad, without stipulating extra cost or effort and gathering research and data as we go. If placed in fishways at the lowest dams, we can largely eliminate the species from the river within a couple years. We aim to reverse invasive species population growth and enable habitat recovery in the native waterway nurseries.
We discover our impact from studies and the measurable results of habitation recovery and removal. We also have had a few articles written about us - we encourage you to check all of it out.