Friday, June 10, 2011

Stopping the Spread of Invasive Species Asian Carp into the Great Lakes

The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (ACRCC) recently released its 2011 Asian Carp Monitoring and Rapid Response Plan (MRRP), outlining an aggressive set of actions to track and remove Asian carp in the Upper Illinois River and the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS) to prevent this invasive species from establishing in the Great Lakes.

The 2011 MRRP, which represents an estimated $7 million Federal investment, is designed with the flexibility to respond to new threats. Project plans can be categorized geographically as occurring either upstream or downstream of the electric dispersal barrier and grouped into the following five categories:


Includes the use of electrofishing and contract commercial fishermen to detect presence and location of any Asian carp DNA both above and below the barrier; continued use of eDNA to detect potential presence of carp above the barrier; and monitoring for small Asian carp to track where reproduction is occurring.


Efforts will include the use of telemetry to follow the movements of tagged surrogate species to assess movement near the dispersal barrier and through locks; use of sonar to track fish movement and caged fish to determine the effectiveness of the dispersal barrier; and monitoring for potential Asian carp spawning in the Des Plaines River to assess risk of eggs and larval fish passing through the barrier fence during flood events.


Efforts include contracting commercial fishermen to remove Asian carp downstream of the barrier; a rapid response process should any Asian carp be detected upstream of the dispersal barrier; and suppressing Asian carp during maintenance of the electric dispersal barriers.


Efforts will evaluate efficiency and detection probability of technology currently in use for Asian carp monitoring, develop enhancements, and generate ideas for development of new approaches for capturing or repelling small populations of Asian carp.


Efforts will include expanded education and enforcement activities at locations where live fish would most likely be transported and continued surveillance efforts.

MRRP projects for 2011 also include developing and testing hydroguns that emit high-pressure underwater sound waves to repel Asian carp.

source: Illinois DNR

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