Department of Natural Resources
July 2, 2019
Results are in for the first round of environmental DNA testing for invasive bighead and silver carp in tributaries of Lake Michigan. None of the 336 water samples collected in the Kalamazoo River, Spring Lake and Lake Macatawa tested positive for the genetic material (eDNA) of invasive carp.
|The eDNA surveillance program – a collaborative effort between the Great Lakes states and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – samples high-priority locations for the presence of bighead and silver carp genetic material. Results from additional monitoring efforts in Michigan will be available later this summer.
Testing for eDNA involves collecting water samples throughout a river or lake and analyzing each sample for silver or bighead carp genetic material.
The 2019 sampling locations this year include Spring Lake and Lake Macatawa, both drowned river mouths of Lake Michigan. According to Kelly Baerwaldt, USFWS Region 3 Asian carp and eDNA coordinator, these lakes provide the type of habitat and food resources that invasive carp prefer and can hold eDNA longer than a high flowing river.
In May, eDNA testing on Lake Calumet in Chicago, just 6 miles downstream of Lake Michigan, resulted in six positive detections – three each for silver carp and bighead carp.
In response to these findings, the USFWS and partners dispatched two crews to carry out intensive electrofishing in Lake Calumet for three days. No live silver or bighead carp were collected through this effort.
|“A positive eDNA sample in Michigan’s waters would trigger a similar response,” said Seth Herbst, aquatic species and regulatory affairs unit manager with the DNR. “The state is prepared to implement a response appropriate to the indicated risk level. Response actions would include intensive monitoring to locate fish populations, and netting and electrofishing to capture and remove the invasive fish.”
“Along with our participation in the eDNA surveillance program, we continue to be diligent with early detection efforts, such as conducting fish population surveys, increasing awareness among anglers, and maintaining an invasive carp reporting website for anglers to share any suspicious catches or observations that occur during their outings,” said Herbst.
Michigan’s management plan for invasive carp outlines the actions to be taken if invasive carp are found in Michigan’s waters.
The state of Michigan is a part of the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee, which develops and supports the annual Asian Carp Action Plan, directing sampling and removal efforts and testing technologies to deter invasive carp movement.
Michigan continues to push the implementation of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ plan to reconstruct the Brandon Road lock and dam near Joliet, Illinois, to install technologies to lessen the possibility of invasive carp entering Lake Michigan from the Mississippi River.
For more information about invasive carp and the threats they pose to Michigan’s waters, visit Michigan.gov/InvasiveCarp.
Michigan's Invasive Species Program is cooperatively implemented by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, the Department of Natural Resources, and the Department of Agriculture & Rural Development.