Electrofishing surveys turn up no live invasive carp.
Following an extensive effort, the Ohio Division of Natural Resources (ODNR) has recently reported that no invasive bighead or silver Asian carp were found in three Ohio rivers.
During a previous sampling effort, eDNA (environmental traces of fish DNA from blood, tissue, and scales) of invasive carp was detected in the Muskingum River. This spurred the ODNR, along with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, to deploy electrofishing crews to search for live fish. The crews conducted surveys at 125 different sites along the entire Muskingum River as well as parts of the Tuscarawas and Walhonding Rivers.
Despite some grass carp being found, none of the invasive species of carp were surveyed.
The Muskingum River is an important site for invasive species monitoring because it has a direct connection to Lake Erie in two different places. This presents the potential for the invasive carp to reach Lake Erie and cause a large amount of damage to the ecosystem.
The ODNR news release reported that “A low-lying agricultural area along Killbuck Creek and a connection between the Tuscarawas River and the Little Cuyahoga River at the Ohio-Erie Canal have been identified by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as potential aquatic pathways between the Mississippi-Ohio River and Lake Erie-Great Lakes basins.”
The battle against the spread of invasive carp species is ongoing in many different areas of the country. It is good to see the ODNR putting a lot of effort into the prevention of the spread of the invasive carp before it is too late. Although it is still a long and uphill battle that is sure to continue into the future, the fact that no live invasive carp were found in these samples is definitely a good sign.
Are you worried about invasive carp becoming a problem in Lake Erie and other Ohio waters? Get the discussion going in the comments section below.