Minnesota DNR invasive carp barrier nears completion

A bighead carp like this one, from the St. Croix River bordering Minnesota and Wisconsin, was verified in North Dakota recently. (Minnesota DNR)

JANESVILLE, Minn. — The Minnesota DNR has begun work on an electric barrier project to keep invasive carp from reaching the Le Sueur River.

The structures near Eagle Lake and Janesville are scheduled to be completed within the next two months, The Mankato Free Press reported. Electric currents will run through concrete aprons and immobilize fish, allowing the water’s current to push them back downstream.

The project dates back to a 2012 statewide assessment of Asian carp’s potential to migrate upstream.

DNR officials hope the barriers will stop the mass movement of bighead, grass and silver carp, which can disrupt an area’s water quality and the food chain by competing for the same food sources as other fish. The carp could reach dozens of lakes, including Madison Lake and Lake Elysian, if they reach the Le Sueur River, officials said.

“Given the importance of those lakes to this area, especially Madison Lake, we felt it was important to protect them from invasive carp,” said Craig Soupir, the DNR’s Waterville area fisheries supervisor. “It’s always best to prevent them, because once you’ve got them you have to manage them.”

A similar barrier in Windom has been effective over the last few years, Soupir said.

Signs and fencing will be constructed to warn people of the barrier. People should keep their hands out of the water, officials said.

The 2008 Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment is funding the projects, which cost between $1.5 million and $1.7 million.

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