Wednesday, July 11, 2012

New eDNA Prompts More Intensive Asian Carp Monitoring Action

Jul 9: The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee's (ACRCC) Monitoring and Rapid Response Work Group (MRRWG) announced intensive monitoring action will begin in Lake Calumet and surrounding areas on July 10th, after three consecutive rounds of Environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling yielded positive results for Asian carp DNA. The ACCRC's 2012 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.

    John Goss, Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) said, "Finding three or more consecutive sets of positive eDNA results triggers us to use significant resources to determine if any Asian carp are present. In addition to significant commercial fishing and electrofishing crews, this response will include brand new netting technologies, and we remain vigilant throughout the region in monitoring to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes, developing cutting edge technologies, and investigating all possible sources of Asian carp DNA."

    Biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will be on the water with commercial fishermen beginning July 10th through Friday July 13th. The crews will lay several 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. The response will deploy new net technologies including, for the first time, pound nets to isolate Lake Calumet and prevent fish movement in and out. Additionally, other new gear being developed for Asian carp detection, including deep water gill nets and six-foot hoop nets, will be deployed as part of the response action. Nets will be equipped with boat-ways to allow boat passage during this extended deployment, and commercial and private vessel traffic will be able to proceed with minimal interference from the monitoring activity.

    Access a release from the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee's (ACRCC) (click here). Access the ACRCC website (click here). [#GLakes]

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