Fisheries, Midwest Region
Conserving America's Fisheries
Asian Carp in the Great Lakes?

Asian carp have been marching upstream in the Mississippi River Basin for decades and now are knocking on the front door of the Great Lakes in the Chicagoland area. Carterville FWCO biologists lead and assist with numerous projects designed to monitor Asian carp and other fish populations in the Upper Illinois River and the Chicago Area Waterways System (CAWS). Biologists and other staff also represent the Fish and Wildlife Service on numerous committees that inform or make decisions related to actions that keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.

FWS employees, and cooperating agencies, respond in force to evidence of Asian carp in the Chicago Area Waterways System. Credit: USFWS


Fish Behavior Near the Electric Barriers
Carterville staff are using video cameras and Dual Frequency Identification Sonar (DIDSON) to observe the behavior of wild fish and caged fish in, near, and around the electric barriers near Romeoville Illinois. Information from this project and other projects will help fishery managers from various agencies make better decisions about the barriers.

Presence and Abundance of Small Asian Carps in the Upper Illinois Waterway
Biologist Jeff Stewart is leading a project to survey and assess the presence and abundance of small, young Asian carps in the upper Illinois River. Knowledge of the life history of small size classes of Asian carps is limited throughout these species natural and introduced ranges. This project seeks to better understand when and where these small fish are, where they come from, and potentially where they move to.

Asian Carp Monitoring and Rapid Response
Carterville FWCO staff do a variety of activities to monitor Asian carp populations in the upper Illinois River and the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS) and respond rapidly to any evidence or reports of Asian carp being in the Chicago Area Waterways System. Biologists monitor carp and their potential presence by assisting other offices and agencies with regular sampling trips to search for Asian carp in the CAWS via electrofishing and sampling the water for Asian carp DNA. Assistant Project Leader Sam Finney is the Service's agency representative on the Monitoring and Rapid Response Workgroup- a collection of state, federal, academic and private partners that is responsible for making decisions related to monitoring and rapid response activities. Biologists from Carterville FWCO also participate as requested during rapid response events. Events thus far have been numerous and have generally focuses on localized areas in the CAWS suspected to hold Asian carp. Methods for trying to capture fish during rapid response events have included intense and focused netting, electrofishing, and in some cases the application of chemicals.