Since their accidental introduction to American waters, Asian carp have been running rampant in the warm-water rivers of the mid-west, slowly advancing up the Mississippi River system. Environmentalists’, conservationists’ and state officials’ biggest fear is that these rapidly reproducing fish find their way into the Great Lakes.
According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), “Bighead, silver and grass carp were first introduced to control nuisance algae blooms and aquatic vegetation in aquaculture facilities, farm ponds, and sewage lagoons.” But the species quickly found their way out of their enclosures and into larger systems, drastically changing the river conditions and increasing danger to boaters, due to the carps’ inclination to leap from the water when boat engines pass over, sometimes hitting passengers and causing injuries.
But a recent discovery made by USFWS has found eDNA (Environmental DNA), in a creek system that is upstream from barriers put in place to prevent the species upstream conquest.
“The eDNA samples don’t come from the fish themselves, but via an emerging science that allows researchers to find the DNA of individual species — in this case, bighead and silver carp — in water samples, using sophisticated collection and testing methods.”
The samples found indicate that there are more than a few fish hiding in Bubbly Creek, a small tributary of the Chicago River, where 70 “hits” of eDNA were detected. The discovery is concerning to researchers, as it was found upstream of barriers put in place by the Army Corp of Engineers to stop these carp species from moving past them.
For more information on this concerning development, read the rest of this article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal!