The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will begin collecting additional water samples from Sturgeon Bay next week after eDNA from the invasive Asian Carp was detected by a research group. Environmental DNA is urine, feces, or scales of a live fish. It was the first such discovery in the Wisconsin waters of Lake Michigan.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources fisheries Director Mike Staggs said researchers from Notre Dame University and the Nature Conservancy found only one sample out of more than 280 on Lake Michigan tested positive for the invasive fish, 50 of which were in Sturgeon Bay. On November 12th, an additional 100 to 150 water samples will be taken from the bay. If that sampling finds evidence of the fish, Staggs said there is likely at least one Asian Carp present there.
Staggs said the DNR was surprised by the positive eDNA test, because agency staff does patrolling, netting and electro shocking for the fish in the waters of Green Bay and Sturgeon Bay. In addition, local commercial fishermen haven’t turned up any evidence of the invasive fish.
In a related development, all 16 U.S. senators from the Great Lakes states are demanding that the Army Corps of Engineers assists Congress in selecting a game plan to keep the Asian Carp from establishing a breeding population in the lakes. Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson and Democrat Tammy Baldwin among the Senators telling the Corps it’s not enough to just spell out alternatives and let lawmakers pick one.
Congress ordered the Army Corps to study ways to prevent the invasive and bloated carp from wiping out native fish in the Great Lakes. The Corps initially planned to wait until 2015 to release proposals. Congress demanded that happen sooner, and the final report is now expected in January. In a letter to the Corps, the senators said the agency needs to work with Congress, congressional staffers, and regional stakeholders to determine the best strategy.
WTAQ contributed to this report