Aquatic and Wetlands Ecosystems Research and Development Center


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For Research on a Wide Variety of Environmental Problems

Located at the ERDC Environmental Laboratory in Vicksburg, Miss., the Aquatic and Wetlands Ecosystems Research and Development Center is an extensive complex for research on environmental issues related to plants and animals within aquatic and wetland ecosystems. The complex provides comprehensive facilities, including laboratories, common research areas, greenhouses, and ponds, to support many types of research.

Access to Expert Research Support

The center employs a dedicated staff available for research support, including over 20 full-time employees, with diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise. The research staff is highly knowledgeable in botany, freshwater biology, marine biology, fisheries biology, entomology, malacology, phycology, mycology, plant pathology, plant ecology, statistics, and wildlife ecology.


The Aquatic and Wetlands Ecosystems Research and Development Center supports a wide variety of environmental studies and research activities, such as:

  • Sturgeon research
  • Biological control of invasive plants
  • Control and management of zebra mussels
  • Native mussel population assessment and biology
  • Mosquito control and management
  • Invasive fish bioassessment
  • Characterization of native invertebrate communities
  • Habitat characterization and bioassessment of native fish populations
  • Shoreline erosion studies
  • Lake and riverine ecosystem restoration
  • Marine biology
Success Stories

Controlling Carp in the Mississippi River System

The Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS) is the only known continuous connection between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River basins, thus it poses the greatest potential risk for the transfer of aquatic nuisance species. Four species of large, particularly destructive carp that are established in the Mississippi River pose a threat to the Great Lakes. To stop their movement, a multi-million dollar electric dispersal barrier was constructed at the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (CSSC), a man-made hydraulic connection within the CAWS which was constructed in the early 20 th century to provide a waterway navigation connection. The barrier created an electrical field to repel fish from crossing; however data on the susceptibility of carp to electrical fields of varying characteristics was needed to ensure the optimal operation of the barrier. In cooperation with the commercial company that designed the barrier, the Aquatic and Wetlands Ecosystem Research and Development Center's Fish Ecology Team collected and tested juvenile silver carp in a variety of electrical fields to quantify their behavioral responses. Additionally, an efficacy study of a range of technical, environmental, and biological risk factors that could potentially reduce the effectiveness of the electrical dispersal barriers was conducted. Results of this study will enable the barrier to be operated safely and continuously at minimal cost and maximum effectiveness.


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