About 25 miles south of Chicago lies a stretch of water that nothing lives in. And if you happen upon it, the Coast Guard will not save you.
It’s not pollution or overfishing that has wiped out nearly everything except for insects and bacteria here, it’s electricity. At the river bottom there are multiple 160-foot wide grids of electrodes issuing 2.3 volts per inch every 2.5 milliseconds.
The Chicago Electric Dispersal Barrier was implemented to repel fish traveling up the shipping and sanitary canals to the Great Lakes, according to a blog in Discover Magazine that points out the barriers are potentially fatal to humans as well.
Specifically, the barrier’s voltage was meant to turn away Asian carp — a voracious invasive species that most worry would destroy Great Lakes fisheries. And the electricity does its job. It turns away larger fish and so far the Great Lakes have not been overrun.