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The Great Lakes region is blessed with an abundance of water. But water quality, affordability, and aging water infrastructure are vulnerabilities that have been ignored for far too long. In this series, members of the Great Lakes News Collaborative, Michigan Public, Bridge Michigan, Great Lakes Now, The Narwhal, and Circle of Blue, explore what it might take to preserve and protect this precious resource. This independent journalism is supported by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

DNR finds silver carp eDNA in Michigan river

A model of invasive carp the DNR takes to various public events.
Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio
A model of invasive carp the DNR takes to various public events.

State officials say recent testing has discovered silver carp eDNA in the St. Joseph River.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says of 220 water samples collected in June 2023 from stretches of the river between Lake Michigan and Berrien Springs, only one, taken near Marina Island, showed evidence of genetic material from silver carp.

Silver carp are an invasive species that could threaten other fish species in the Great Lakes if they were to become established.

“There’s DNA in the water and in this case it’s silver carp,” said Tammy Newcomb with the Department of Natural Resources. “What it doesn’t tell us, though, is where did that DNA come from?”

Newcomb said investigators will spend time looking for silver carp in the part of the river where the sample was taken.

Though she said it’s more likely the eDNA found in the sample was transported to the river from an out-of-state boat rather than a live fish.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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