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Asian Carp Found In Muskingum River

Toledo Blade

State officials continue to fight the potential spread of the Asian Carp into Lake Erie. Ohio Public Radio's Andy Chow has an update.

Researchers say they’ve found what’s known as environmental DNA of Bighead Asian carp in the Muskingum River near Zanesville. This serves as the most recent reminder of the continuous threat this invasive species poses to Ohio’s waterways and most importantly, Lake Erie.

Asian carp rapidly reproduce and out eat the native fish species, making carp and ecological threat.

Carter: “And in the end—yes—that hurts fishermen that has the potential to hurt our economy.”

That’s Rich Carter, executive administrator for fish management and research for the state.

Defending Ohio from Asian carp means getting a good idea of where they are and where they’re going. Carter says the warmer weather gives researchers better opportunities to physically identify and track the fish.

Carter: “The weather does allow us to be more effective in getting out in the field because the water levels are stable—the water conditions are more preferable for spawning so everything kind of comes together there.”

One of the best ways to protect Lake Erie from this invasive species is the cut them off in smaller tributaries. As of now, Carter says, there are two passageways designated as medium risk connections in northeast Ohio; Little Killbuck Creek and Long Lake.

Experts are working on plans to block any entrance to Lake Erie. But as Carter explains, this is a delicate procedure.

Carter: “Anytime you’re talking about the potential movement of water or the isolation of two watersheds there’s a potential that any kind of action might lead to flooding of people’s properties so we have to be very concerned about how we approach the design and implementation of any kind of action.”

Illinois and Indiana are among the other Great Lakes states are also monitoring the movement of Asian carp up the Mississippi River waterway. An opening in the Chicago-area water system poses the biggest threat so far, designated as a very high risk connection.

Carter believes it’s important for the different states to work as a team in order to battle this issue.

Carter: “I do see the closure of the connections between the Mississippi River basin and the Great Lakes basin really as a collaborative effort. We are heavily involved in discussions about closure of the Chicago area waterway system about closure of Eagle Marsh and about the rest of the closures including Ohio closures throughout the nation.”

The General Assembly has been keeping an eye on the Asian carp issue as well. Both the Senate and House have proposed resolutions that urge action by the U.S. Congress and president.

Jim has been with WCBE since 1996. Before that he worked as a reporter at another Columbus radio station, and for three newspapers in Southwest Florida.
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