Asian carp

Allyse Ferrara and Doug Stange pose with an alligator gar.
Courtesy of Allyse Ferrara

It has scales so tough Native Americans once used them as arrowheads.

It can grow longer than a horse, and it loves to munch on Asian carp.

It's the alligator gar!

This ancient fish is found in the south, but they're being restocked in rivers and lakes as far north as Illinois in hopes they might control Asian carp and, in turn, protect the Great Lakes. 

Asian carp leaping out of a river.
glfc.org

Great Lakes charter boat companies are pleading with Congress to approve bills aimed at keeping Asian carp out of Lake Michigan, by permanently separating the lake from the Mississippi River watershed, where the invasive species is numerous.

Denny Grinold owns Fish N' Grin Charters in Michigan.

He says if carp get into the Great Lakes, his business will be worthless, and he will  have nothing to pass on to his children and grandchildren.

A grass carp.
Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee

Researchers say they’ve found grass carp eggs in the Sandusky River for the first time. The river flows into Lake Erie near Cedar Point.

Grass carp are a type of invasive Asian carp. This is the first time scientists have had direct confirmation that the fish are reproducing in the river.

Holly Embke found the eggs. She’s a master’s student at the University of Toledo.

“The reason we were looking where we were looking in the Sandusky River was because we thought there was the possibility of spawning, so it wasn’t wholly surprising to find eggs,” she says.

A bighead carp at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.
Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

There’s a coalition of federal and state agencies working to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.

It’s called the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee. It just came out with its carp plan for this year.

Asian Carp
Kate Gardiner / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

For nearly two decades, The Environment Report and its predecessor The Great Lakes Radio Consortium have been reporting about invasive species on Michigan Radio. More and more kinds of pests are being introduced into the lakes, often by cargo ships bringing in critters from foreign ports. And it's a lot more than just Asian Carp, which has received plenty of headlines in recent years. 

A Minute With Mike: Carp Carp Hooray!

Aug 12, 2015
A Minute with Mike
Vic Reyes

Once again it's time to dust off the ol’ Future-tron 2000 and see what might be happening in our state's future.

Dateline: Summer, 2050

 

Lake and river towns throughout Michigan are undertaking final preparations for tonight's 30th annual Celebration of Carp, or “Carpration” as some Michiganeers fondly refer to it. Since its arrival in the Great Lakes in 2020, the Asian Carp has revolutionized Michigan's industry and diet.

A bighead carp at the Shedd Aquarium.
Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

Researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey want to find out where Asian carp eggs will have the most success.

They’re using a model nicknamed FluEgg to predict which rivers in the Great Lakes region are the most suitable for Asian carp to reproduce. The fish are not established here yet, but scientists want to be ready in case they do get in and get comfortable.

User:Phils1stPix / Flicker

 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service commissioned a report on the commercial grass carp industry. Grass carp are one of four species of Asian carp that officials are concerned about.

They’re used to control vegetation in lakes and ponds, and some people like to eat them. 

Senator Debbie Stabenow
USDAgov / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, D-MI, and U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-MI, have introduced legislation that addresses the threat of Asian carp entering the Great Lakes.

Asian carp
KATE.GARDNER / flickr.com

A federal report says genetic markers of Asian carp are still showing up in Chicago-area waterways, which environmentalists say highlights the continuing threat that invasive fish will reach the Great Lakes. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released its findings from 240 water samples it collected during the week of October 20, 2014. Twenty-three of these samples tested positive for DNA from silver carp, one of several Asian carp species that currently infest many Midwestern rivers.

A bighead carp at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.
Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is figuring out new ways to try to block two species of Asian carp — bighead and silver — from getting into Lake Michigan. The Corps also wants to block other aquatic nonnative species from getting into the Lakes from the Mississippi River system.

They’re considering whether to put in new barriers near the Brandon Road Lock and Dam in the Des Plaines River near Chicago. The site is about five miles downstream from a system of electric barriers in the Chicago Ship and Sanitary Canal. Those barriers are essentially the last line of defense against Asian carp in the Chicago area.

“This may be a perfect site to implement a range of different kinds of technologies," says Dave Wethington, a project manager with the Army Corps in Chicago.

He says the Corps could put in barriers that block fish passage into the lock and dam, or more electric barriers. It could also put in special water guns that use pressure waves to deter carp.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

The most recent round of environmental DNA sampling on the Kalamazoo River showed no evidence of genetic material from Asian carp, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Ed Golder, spokesperson for the department, says this is very good news, "but it doesn't mean that we're going to stop being vigilant about the concern that Asian carp generally, and silver carp and big head carp in particular, pose to the Great Lakes."