Latest tests show no evidence of Asian carp in Michigan

Jim Lynch
The Detroit News

Recent tests on the waters of the Kalamazoo River in Allegan County turned up no evidence of Asian carp.

The good news comes after the announcement this month that a water sample taken in the summer produced eDNA evidence of the invasive species in the river. Officials with Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducted follow-up testing in the same area. A total of 200 new water samples were taken on Oct. 7 and Oct. 8 from the lower Kalamazoo River.

Asian carp are an invasive species with a reputation for moving in to new areas and eating native species out of their habitat. After escaping from southern fish farms, silver and bighead carp have spent decades working their way north through the Mississippi River system. They are now on the doorstep of Lake Michigan.

When discovered, eDNA shows that traces of Asian carp are present in a waterway. That presence can mean anything from fish scales to fecal matter. So far, the presence of eDNA found in area around the Great Lakes has not led to a sustainable Asian carp population.

“We greatly appreciate the quick work by USFWS to collect and evaluate these latest samples,” DNR Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter said. “We are pleased these samples were negative, but that doesn’t mean our efforts to keep Asian carp out of Michigan’s waters are over.”

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