Waterway Users

The U.S. Coast Guard has established both a safety zone and a regulated navigation area (RNA) on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (CSSC) near Romeo, IL. These actions place navigational, environmental, and operational restrictions on all vessels transiting the navigable waters located adjacent to, and over, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' (USACE) electrical dispersal fish barrier system.

Safety Zone

The safety zone includes all waters of the CSSC between mile marker 296.1 (approximately 958 feet south of the Romeo Road Bridge) and mile marker 296.7 (aerial pipeline arch located approximately 2,693 feet north east of Romeo Road Bridge).

Regulations in the safety zone:

  1. All vessels are prohibited from transiting the safety zone with any non-potable water on board if they intend to release that water in any form within, or on the other side of the safety zone. Non-potable water includes but is not limited to any water taken on board to control or maintain trim, draft, stability or stresses of the vessel, or taken on board due to free communication between the hull of the vessel and exterior water. Potable water is water treated and stored aboard the vessel that is suitable for human consumption.

  2. Vessels with non-potable water onboard are permitted to transit the safety zone if they have taken steps to prevent the release of that water in any form, in or on the other side of the safety zone, or alternatively if they have plans to dispose of the water in a biologically sound manner.

  3. Vessels with non-potable water aboard that intend to discharge on the other side of the zone must contact the Captain of the Port (COTP) Lake Michigan, or a designated representative of the COTP, and obtain permission to transit and discharge prior to transit. Examples of discharges that may be approved by the COTP include plans to dispose of the water in a biologically sound manner or demonstrate through testing that the non-potable water does not contain potential live Silver or Asian carp, or viable eggs or, gametes from these carp.

  4. Entry into, transiting, or anchoring within this safety zone by vessels with non-potable water on board is prohibited unless authorized by the COTP Lake Michigan, his designated representative, or his on-scene representative. COTP Lake Michigan may be contacted via VHF-FM radio Channel 16 or through the Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan Command Center at 414-747-7182.

Regulated Navigation Area

The regulated navigation area (RNA) includes all waters of the CSSC between mile marker 295.5 (approximately 3,600 feet south of the Romeo Road Bridge) and mile marker 297.2 (approximately 2,640 feet north of the aerial pipeline arch).

School of silver carp. Photo by Jason Jenkins.
School of silver carp. Photo by Jason Jenkins.

Regulations in the RNA - Vessels that comply with the following restrictions are permitted to transit the RNA:

  1. All up-bound and down-bound barge tows that consist of barges carrying flammable liquid cargos (Grade A through C, flashpoint below 140 degrees Fahrenheit, or heated to within 15 degrees Fahrenheit of flash point) must engage the services of a bow boat at all times until the entire tow is clear of the RNA.

  2. Vessels engaged in commercial service, as defined in 46 U.S.C. 2101(5), may not pass (meet or overtake) in the RNA and must make a SECURITE call when approaching the RNA to announce intentions and work out passing arrangements.

  3. Commercial tows transiting the RNA must be made up with only wire rope to ensure electrical connectivity between all segments of the tow.

  4. All vessels are prohibited from loitering in the RNA.

  5. Vessels may enter the RNA for the sole purpose of transiting to the other side and must maintain headway throughout the transit. All vessels and persons are prohibited from dredging, laying cable, dragging, fishing, conducting salvage operations, or any other activity, which could disturb the bottom of the RNA.

  6. Except for law enforcement and emergency response personnel, all personnel on vessels transiting the RNA should remain inside the cabin, or as inboard as practicable. If personnel must be on open decks, they must wear a Coast Guard approved personal flotation device.

  7. Vessels may not moor or lay up on the right or left descending banks of the RNA.

  8. Towboats may not make or break tows if any portion of the towboat or tow is located in the RNA.

  9. Persons on board any vessel transiting this RNA are advised they do so at their own risk.

  10. Vessels must be greater than twenty feet in length.

  11. Vessels must not be a personal watercraft of any kind (e.g. jet skis, wave runners, kayaks, etc.).

Additional Restrictions

The COTP Lake Michigan may also impose additional restrictions and closures in support of electric fish barrier maintenance or testing, rapid response actions, research projects, or any other Asian carp activity that will impact the flow of traffic. Notice of such restrictions will be through publication in the Federal Register as well as other means, such as Broadcast Notice to Mariners, local Notice to mariners, local news media, distribution in leaflet form, and/or on scene oral notice.

For More Information

If you wish to view the regulated navigation area and safety zone regulations for the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, Romeoville, IL, go to http://www.regulations.gov, enter "USCG-2010-1054" in the "Keyword" field, and click on the "Search" button.

If you have any questions about the Fish Barrier or its operations, please contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at (312) 846-5330.

If you have any questions about this safety zone or RNA, their enforcement, or current vessel traffic status of the waterway, please contact the Sector Lake Michigan Command Center at (414) 747-7182.

For more information on the electric barriers, visit: http://www.lrc.usace.army.mil/AsianCarp/barrier.htm