Chicago — News that genetic material from Asian carp had been found in a Michigan tributary that flows into Lake Michigan turned the heads of Great Lakes protectors this month, but the accuracy of the finding was quickly called into question.
The most recent report detailing monitoring efforts in Illinois waters showed little new action by carp swimming in the state’s waters.
The Michigan scare came after it was announced that DNA from silver carp was detected in one of 200 water samples taken in the Kalamazoo River, about 24 miles from Lake Michigan.
Officials quickly pointed out that the discovery of genetic markers doesn’t necessarily prove the presence of live carp.
“While we don’t have evidence of a live fish in the water, we treat this finding very seriously,” Michigan DNR senior water policy adviser Tammy Newcombe said.
In Illinois during August, crews from DNR, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed 20 electrofishing runs at fixed locations and 47 runs at randomly selected locations in the Lockport, Brandon Road, Dresden Island and Marseilles. The monitoring, managed by the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee, focuses on the Chicago Area Waterway System and the Upper Illinois Waterway.
Details of the August samplings:
- Crews collected 5,151 fish of 56 species and three hybrid groups.
- No Asian carp (bighead or silver carp) were reported captured or observed during electrofishing in the Lockport and Brandon Road pools.
- Fifty-two silver carp were collected and over 400 were observed during sampling at fixed and random sites in the Marseilles Pool on Aug. 4. Eleven silver carp were collected and 21 were observed during sampling at random sites in the Marseilles Pool on Aug. 5
- Two silver carp were collected and four were observed during sampling at random sites in the Dresden Pool.
- Contracted commercial fishing crews and assisting DNR biologists set 3.2 miles of net (28 sets) at the four fixed sites and 23 miles of net (181 sets) at random and additional sites within the four pools downstream of the electric dispersal barrier.
- Crews collected 372 fish of 11 species during commercial netting.
- Fifty-two silver carp and 13 bighead carp were collected in the Marseilles Pool on Aug. 8.
- Eight bighead carp were collected in Rock Run Rookery.
- Crews from DNR set and pulled 16 hoop nets downstream of the electric dispersal barrier in Lockport, Brandon Road, Dresden Island and Marseilles pools during the week of Aug. 25.
- Crews collected seven fish of four species during hoop net sampling.
- No bighead or silver carp were reported captured or observed during hoop net sampling in Lockport, Brandon Road, Dresden Island and Marseilles pools.
- DNR crews set and pulled 16 mini fyke nets downstream of the electric dispersal barrier in Lockport, Brandon Road, Dresden Island and Marseilles pools.n Crews collected 1,876 fish of 32 species and one hybrid group species. No bighead or silver carp were reported.