Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Asian Carp Monitoring Continues
Midwest Region, November 30, 2010
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Adam McDaniels with Chinook salmon captured while electrofishing the Cal-Sag Channel. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo)
Adam McDaniels with Chinook salmon captured while electrofishing the Cal-Sag Channel. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo) - Photo Credit: n/a

Columbia FWCO did not hesitate to lend a hand when the Illinois Department of Natural Resources crew that was scheduled for fixed site sampling was called to a sampling event in Lockport, IL. 

Adam McDaniel and Heather Calkins traveled to the Chicago Area the week of November 15 and assisted Matt Shanks and Shawna Herleth-King from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Chicago District) in completing the next round of Asian carp fixed site sampling in the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS). The USACE crew provided not only an electrofishing boat, but also an extra willing and helpful hand.

Frigid temperatures coupled with overcast skies made for a chilly trip, but the mission was accomplished with no visual sign of the invasive species. Interesting catches from this trip included several Chinook (or king) salmon, a few nice walleye and one toad of a yellow perch. This trip concluded the fixed site sampling for the year due to adverse weather conditions. It is scheduled to resume March 2011.

Two weeks later a crew was back in Chicago, but for a different type of sampling. Tracy Hill and Heather Calkins traveled to Joliet, IL at the end of November looking for Asian carp environmental DNA (eDNA) in the Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal (CSSC). The sampling excursion was again a collaborative effort among agencies, but this time a Life Scientist from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) joined the Columbia crew. The USEPA’s Mari Nord assisted in water sample collection in the Lockport Pool and acted as a sample courier for the trip. The crew was grateful for the USEPA’s willingness to contribute as it reduced exposure to freezing weather and allowed them to avoid the dreadful Chicago traffic.

            Sampling for Asian carp eDNA occurred weekly at different areas in the CAWS and is directed to very specific locations based on positive identifications from the previous week. The samples were filtered by the USACE at the Chicago EPA lab and sent to the Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) lab in Vicksburg, MS for processing. As of December 14, 1498 eDNA samples have been taken in the CAWS, of which 1140 have been processed with 24 of them being positive for Asian carp DNA. There have been a similar amount of positive ‘hits’ above and below the electric barrier with most being positive for silver carp DNA. The most recent positive ‘hits’ were from samples taken on November 15 in the North Shore Channel. The eDNA sampling has also halted for the year and will continue in the spring.

Columbia FWCO staff has become quite familiar with Chicago and its waterways. They have made many trips to the Windy City assisting in rotenone events, routine fixed site electrofishing, directed sampling efforts and most recently getting involved in the weekly eDNA sampling. The office anticipates returning to the big city and will continue to support sampling efforts as the risk for Asian carp invasion remains.

You can find the eDNA sampling results at: http://www.lrc.usace.army.mil/AsianCarp/eDNA.htm 

Contact Info: Heather Calkins, 573-445-5001 ext 29, heather_calkins@fws.gov
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