The State of Michigan wishes to congratulate the winners of the Great Lakes Invasive Carp Challenge.

Four finalists presented their solutions in the Carp Tank competition on March 27, 2018 in Detroit. The judges, Governor Rick Snyder, Dr. Denice Shaw of the EPA, Jeff Deboer of Sundberg-Ferar, and Professor David Lodge of Cornell University, ranked each solution and awarded the following prizes:

First Place ($200,000)

Edem Tsikata, a software consultant at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tsikata’s “Cavitation Barrier to Deter Asian Carp” would utilize a row of specially-designed propellers to generate a wall of cavitation bubbles which implode and emit high-speed jets of water. The painful sensation of the bubbles along with the noise of the propellers would repel fish and prevent their passage beyond the bubble barrier.

Carp Challenge Winners
Edem Tsikata of Boston, Massachusetts accepts the grand prize at the Carp Tank from Governor Rick Snyder, David Lodge, Jeff DeBoer and Dr. Denice Shaw.

Second Place ($125,000)

David Hamilton, Senior Policy Director for The Nature Conservancy in Lansing, Michigan

Hamilton’s “AIS Lock Treatment System” is designed function in a lock system.  After vessels are moored in a gated chamber, a carefully measured amount of chlorine – which is lethal to a wide range of aquatic organisms, including invasive carp - would be injected and mixed into the chamber’s waters. Following treatment, sodium bisulfate would be used to detoxify the water before it is released into the river.

Third Place ($100,000)

Michael Scurlock, a hydraulic engineer with RiverRestoration in Carbondale, Colorado

Scurlock’s proposal for adjustable physical velocity barriers is designed to concentrate water flow in a lock system after vessels are moored, creating a current that fish cannot swim against and essentially flushing the system before the lock gates are closed.

Fourth Place ($75,000)

Dr. D.J. Lee of Smart Vision Works International in Orem, Utah, also a professor and director of the Robotics Vision Laboratory at Brigham Young University

Dr. Lee’s proposal, Recognition and Removal of Invasive Fish, is designed to prevent invasive carp from moving past the installation point by directing all fish through an automated imaging and sorting system that uses unique recognition software to divert invasive carp to a holding area for harvest. 


Six runners-up were awarded $25,000 each and also presented their ideas to researchers and venture capitalists at the Great Lakes Invasive Carp Summit following the Carp Tank event.

The runners-up include:

  • Micheal Ahimbisibwe, the founder and director of research for Bravespec Systems, Ltd., an energy and research development company.
  • Dr. Stephen Walker, the chief engineer for Phyre Technologies, developing novel techniques for liquid and gas deoxygenation.
  • Philip Doberenz, the founder and chief inventor of X-Tirp Inc., which designs and sells tools to control invasive species.
  • Thomas Bliznik, a resident of Petoskey, Michigan, who works in the power and industrial market.
  • Lawrence P. Kearns, a founding principal of Wheeler Kearns Architects in Chicago, who focuses on cultural and education projects with ambitious social, economic and environmental goals.
  • Matthew Cook, the founder, CEO and technical director of SeaView Systems, Inc., a global company that uses underwater robotic technology for tunnel inspections and infrastructure intervention.

Thank you to the innovators from all over the world who submitted solutions to the Great Lakes Invasive Carp Challenge. We received 353 solutions from 27 countries, highlighting the significant interest and concern that exists across the world to help protect the Great Lakes.

The Challenge is closed, and no more solutions will be accepted.

The Threat

Silver carp and bighead carp are within 10 miles of the three electric barriers built to prevent invasive carp from entering Lake Michigan through the Chicago Area Waterways System.

These fish can grow to over 100 pounds. They jump out of the water to threaten boaters, out-compete native species for food, and can take over an entire river system.

If that happens in Michigan, it will affect the core of who we are as Michiganders and what we love about our great state.

What is at Stake

  • A $7 billion fishing industry in the Great Lakes
  • Water recreation - a major attraction in Michigan's tourism economy, generating $38 billion in economic activity
  • The health of the largest freshwater ecosystem in the world

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