Earlier this month, the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (ACRCC) released an updated Monitoring and Response Plan (MRP) intended to protect the Great Lakes from Asian carp. The plan is designed to prevent the invasive fish species from developing self-sustaining populations in the Great Lakes. A summary of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Great Lakes eDNA Monitoring Program was released concurrently.

The MRP outlines actions for the 2014 field season focused on monitoring and removal of Asian carp downstream of the Electric Barrier System in the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS) and the upper Illinois Waterway. It also calls for ongoing evaluations of the effectiveness of barriers and gears used in keeping Asian carp from the CAWS and Lake Michigan.

Separate from the MRP, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Great Lakes eDNA Monitoring Program examines waters of the CAWS and also across the Great Lakes basin for early warning signs of Asian carp.

New actions to monitor populations of Asian carp in the upper Illinois Waterway and CAWS this year include:

  • Sampling for Asian carps downstream of the electric dispersal barriers will be increased to better focus on the leading edge of the Asian carp population in the CAWS.
  • Contract commercial fishing crews will expend more effort in the target areas of the Marseilles and Dresden Island pools of the upper Illinois Waterway.
  • The Asian carp telemetry monitoring program around the electric dispersal barriers will be heightened.
  • Monitoring for adult and juvenile bighead carp and silver carp in the upper Des Plaines River will be focused in four new target areas.
  • The river upstream of the former Hofmann Dam will be examined for potential Asian carp habitat.
  • The effects of water gun seismic pressure waves on in-water structures will tested before this technology is employed in critical navigational waters.