Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee Announces 2013 Asian Carp Monitoring and Response Plan for Illinois Waters

Chris McCloud
Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee Announces 2013 Asian Carp Monitoring and Response Plan for Illinois Waters
CHICAGO - The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (ACRCC) today released its 2013 Asian Carp Monitoring and Response Plan (MRP).  Outlining a revised and aggressive set of actions to track and remove Asian carp in the Upper Illinois River and the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS), the 2013 MRP is again designed to prevent Asian carp from establishing populations in the CAWS and Lake Michigan.

The 2013 MRP details over $6.5 million of monitoring, sampling and response activities to be conducted by multiple members of the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee. The plan outlines actions for the current (2013) field season focused on monitoring and removal of Asian carp in the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS) and upper Illinois Waterway; and on-going evaluations of the effectiveness of barriers and gears used in keeping Asian carp from establishing in the CAWS and Lake Michigan.

�This year�s Monitoring and Response Plan will focus on expanding those actions that have achieved tangible results.  Over the past three seasons we have removed over 1.3 million pounds of Asian carp from the Upper Illinois River well below the electric barriers.   We believe removal efforts are working to reduce Asian carp populations in Illinois thanks to the hard work and dedication of our biologists, commercial fishermen and our ACRCC partners,� said Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Marc Miller. 

The 2013 plan continues intensive fish population sampling in the CAWS to watch closely for the potential presence of live Asian carp including two intense sampling events later this year.  In 2012, over 100,000 fish were netted and identified with no Asian carp found between the electric barriers in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal and Lake Michigan.   The 2013 plan also continues sampling for Asian carp environmental DNA (eDNA) as a monitoring and surveillance tool, however eDNA will no longer be used as a trigger for immediate rapid response actions until the scientific significance of results can be further refined.  

In 2012 three response actions were triggered by positive eDNA detections in the CAWS, with two additional actions implemented as a precautionary measure to eDNA presence.  These intense sampling events totaled more than 1,600 hours of surveillance, over 27 miles of the CAWS, using 18.4 miles of gill/trammel nets and 59 hours of electrofishing.  These efforts resulted in no bighead or silver carp being seen or captured.  These eDNA �triggered� events were in addition to the over 7,500 hours of sampling by ACRCC crews in the CAWS in 2012 with no bighead or silver carp seen or captured above the electric barriers.

�The Service has been an active partner in this tremendous effort since day one,� said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Deputy Regional Director Charlie Wooley.   �The 2013 Monitoring and Response Plan represents the highest level of cooperation for the benefit of the American public in the fight against Asian carp.  The Service is proud to again offer our technical assistance in the coordinated monitoring and sampling efforts taking place this field season.�

"This robust, inter-agency program to assess the location and abundance of Asian carp is just one important component of the Corps prevention strategy and helps us in making effective electric barrier operation decisions," said Col. Frederic A. Drummond, Jr., District Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Chicago District.  �At the end of this year, we will be providing Congress a Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study Report that outlines a range of options and technologies to prevent the inter-basin transfer of aquatic nuisance species between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins by aquatic pathways."

The 2013 MRP also is accompanied by an Interim Summary Report (MRWG 2012), containing preliminary results and analysis of actions completed for each of the 18 projects described in the 2011 Plan. The Interim Report includes recommendations for modifications and enhancements to project plans based on past results and experiences which have been made in the 2012 MRP.

In addition to several reoccurring actions from last year, new actions in the 2013 MRP include:

� Monitoring and sampling efforts below the electric barriers will be increased, while continuing to conduct electrofishing at fixed and random sampling sites upstream of the barriers on a more limited basis.

� Two planned eDNA sampling trips above the electric barriers will be conducted in 2013.  Additionally, two planned intensive monitoring events for live Asian carp will be conducted throughout the CAWS.  These monitoring events will be done in coordination with eDNA sampling.

� Testing of water guns and other control technologies (carbon dioxide, attractants and fish toxicants) will be undertaken to assess the effectiveness and impacts. 

The 2013 MRP was developed by the Asian Carp Monitoring and Response Workgroup and has been reviewed by technical experts, Great Lakes state�s natural resource agencies, and non-governmental organizations.

The MRP targets the Upper Illinois River and Chicago Area Waterway System, the Asian carp pathway of greatest concern.

For more information and to read the MRP, please visit:  
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