The Michigan Department of Natural Resources last week sent several fisheries staff to assist the Illinois DNR with an ongoing Asian carp removal project. The goal of the project is to respond to the leading edge and reduce population levels of Asian carp threatening the Great Lakes via the Chicago Area Waterway System.
While there, Michigan staff assisted the Illinois DNR and commercial anglers in capturing and removing bighead and silver carp from reaches of the Illinois River south of Chicago. Although Asian carp (bighead or silver) are not present in any Michigan waters. This training provided critical knowledge to the Michigan DNR for potential future response efforts.
Methods used during the course of this training exercise included gillnetting, seining and electrofishing. All fish caught and removed were provided to a processor to make fertilizer.
Eleven Michigan DNR staff members spent multiple days last week on the project. Another fisheries team conducted similar work in 2014. The DNR’s participation in this effort highlights its continued collaboration and dedication to addressing Asian carp issues in Michigan.
In addition to this recent training exercise, the DNR also has coordinated and participated in other field efforts to increase preparedness and implement portions of the state’s Asian Carp Management Plan. These include a field exercise on the St. Joseph River in the fall of 2013 and a multi-jurisdictional field exercise, co-led with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, on Lake Erie in the fall of 2014.
“Opportunities like the one we participated in last week are critical to maintaining regional collaboration and helping to reduce the Asian carp population that’s currently threatening the Great Lakes,” said DNR Senior Water Policy Advisor Tammy Newcomb. “The efforts provide valuable opportunities to help us address any Asian carp issues that threaten our state’s waters while we work toward additional preventative solutions in Illinois.”