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Another sign that invasive Asian carp could be getting closer to Lake Michigan

Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee
Big head and silver carp

In yet another sign that invasive Asian carp could be inching closer to Lake Michigan, researchers with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have found environmental DNA of two species of carp in a lake that's just a few miles from Lake Michigan.

Environmental DNA comes from things like fish scales. It's an indicator that the fish could be present.

Molly Flanagan is with the Alliance for the Great Lakes.

"Finding big head and silver carp e-DNA is a stark reminder that we don't have time to waste and that we need to move quickly," she says.

Flanagan says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is expected to issue a final report on the issue very soon.

The report is expected to recommend improvements to existing barriers to try to keep the carp out of Lake Michigan.  The barriers are in place at the Brandon Road Dam in the Des Plains River, more than 140 miles south of Lake Michigan.

The eDNA that was recently found came from samples from Lake Calumet, which lies a few miles from the shoreline of Lake Michigan, south of Chicago.

Congress has to authorize and fund the barrier improvements. Flanagan says she's hopeful authorizing legislation will be introduced next year.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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