Monday, August 1, 2011

ACRCC Steps Up Monitoring With More Positive eDNA Results

Jul 29: The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (ACRCC) announced intensive monitoring action will begin in Lake Calumet and surrounding areas today (August 1), after three consecutive rounds of Environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling yielded positive results for Asian carp DNA. The ACCRC's 2011 Monitoring and Rapid Response Plan calls for a Level 1 response to three consecutive rounds of positive eDNA results in one area. While Lake Calumet is regularly monitored for the presence of Asian carp, a level 1 response adds commercial fishing crews as well as additional electrofishing boats, larger sweeping nets, called seines, and additional sampling gear to the area during an intensive four day fishing period.

    At present, eDNA evidence cannot verify whether live Asian carp are present, whether the DNA may have come from a dead fish, or whether water containing Asian carp DNA may have been transported from other sources, such as bilge water. The monitoring response is designed to intensify resources and use the best available technology to search for live Asian carp in the Lake Calumet area. Eight previous monitoring trips to Lake Calumet since March 2011 have identified 4,500 fish and indicated no Asian carp presence.

    John Goss, Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) said, "Finding three or more consecutive sets of positive eDNA samples in the same area triggers us to use significant resources to try to find a physical specimen. Through the ACRCC's comprehensive Asian carp  control strategy, we remain vigilant both in monitoring to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes, and also in investigating all possible sources of Asian carp DNA to minimize the human transfer element such as people unknowingly using Asian carp as bait or other activities that could transfer them to the Great Lakes."

    Biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will be on the water with commercial fishermen and biologists from Southern Illinois University and the Illinois Natural History Survey beginning Monday August 1st through Thursday August 4th. The crews will lay various net types throughout the Lake Calumet area, including half-mile long seine nets to sweep large portions of the area.  Electrofishing boats will sample fish in shoreline areas and will be used to drive fish towards the nets.  Commercial and private vessel traffic will be able to proceed with minimal interference from the monitoring activity. Three separate eDNA samples sets were taken at Lake Calumet between June 15 and July 19 and revealed 11 positives (all Silver carp DNA) out of 328 samples taken. 

    Access a release from ACRCC with some eDNA sampling details (click here). Access full eDNA sampling details can be found on the ACOE website (click here). Access background and more information on the ACRCC website (click here).