Friday, February 3rd, 2023
Friday, February 3rd, 2023

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More poison targeted for Illinois Asian carp

Washington – The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Commit-tee is
implementing a new monitoring and sampling plan to guide Asian carp
control efforts.

“This sampling plan will provide us with important data needed
to make future decisions,” John Rogner, assistant director of DNR,
said. “Keeping Asian carp from establishing a population in Lake
Michigan remains our ultimate goal, and we think this new
monitoring plan will help us achieve our objectives.”

To date, the Regional Coordinating Committee’s efforts have
focused on monitoring and sampling the Chicago waters to determine
whether positive hits of Asian carp environmental DNA (eDNA) found
in multiple locations upstream of the electric barrier indicate the
presence of Asian carp. Traditional sampling techniques including
gillnetting and electrofishing did not yield the capture of any
Asian carp in areas surveyed during the initial six-week sampling
period.

Based on the eDNA tests, the new sampling and monitoring plan
will take those traditional fishing methods to the North Shore
Channel where a three-day sampling effort using electrofishing gear
and commercial fishing nets will be used in an attempt to locate
Asian carp.

“These new monitoring efforts will help us make the most
strategic decisions for keeping Asian carp from becoming
established in the Great Lakes,” said Charlie Wooley, deputy
regional director of the Fish and Wildlife Service.

The operation required DNR to close a portion of the North Shore
Channel starting on May 11 with plans to reopen it the morning of
May 14.

The North Shore Channel is almost exclusively used by paddlers
because of its shallow depths and not navigable to most commercial
and recreational boats.

The new plan also calls for a rotenone sampling operation
upstream of the electric barriers near the O’Brien Lock and Dam to
determine whether – and if so, how many – Asian carp might exist in
that location where positive eDNA samples have been taken.

The planned application and subsequent fish recovery will begin
with waterway closure on May 20 and last five to six days. The
application will take place on the Little Calumet River
approximately one mile downstream of T.J. O’Brien Lock and Dam,
east of the I-94 overpass, and will cover a two-mile stretch
downstream of the starting location.

The waterway will be treated in one day, and the recovery phase
of the operation will last four to five days. During that time, the
USFWS, DNR and other participating agencies will aim to recover as
many fish in the application area as possible to determine the
abundance and type of fish present in the treated area. The U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers will support this effort by modifying
operations at T.J. O’Brien Lock and Dam as needed during the
operation.

The toxicant will eradicate Asian carp and other fish in the
canal, but does not present a risk to people or other wildlife when
used properly.

During the application and recovery phases, the USCG will
implement a safety zone to protect waterway users and workers
conducting sampling operations in the vicinity of the O’Brien
Lock.

Access to the canal will be restricted for five to seven days,
meaning that boaters will not be able to transit the safety zone
until sampling operations are completed and the safety zone is
rescinded by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Any safety zone notices for these sampling operations will be
published in the federal register and will also be posted online at
http://www.uscg.fishbarrierinfo.com.

Rotenone, a fish toxicant commonly used in fisheries management,
was previously used on a six-mile stretch of the Chicago Sanitary
and Shipping Canal in December of 2009 while the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers shut down the Electric Barrier System for routine
maintenance.

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