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RIVER LIFE

Invasive aquatic species are increasingly threatening waters in Minnesota and round the globe. Discovery of Asian carp DNA in the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities metropolitan area has triggered renewed concern, not just for the Asian carp and the threat they pose to Minnesota habitats, but the general issue of aquatic invasive species.

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April 2012

Robotics and Carp http://bit.ly/HS5Du9 Computer scientist at UMN IonE uses carp to “develop robotic systems that can operate on their own in large, complex and dynamic settings.”  Of particular interest in the work is the realm of environmental monitoring, and the carp are particularly good at pursuit-evasion tests (fancy name for playing ‘tag’).  The potential to improve the field of robotics is immense, but also there is potential to help understand more fully the habits of the non-native and invasive (in this area) carp.  Win-win!  #science

“Bio-bullet” for Asian carp? Be careful what you ask for! http://trib.in/HaM12U  I guess it makes sense to look for some kind of “poison pill” that will kill Asian carp and not harm anything else in the environment.  But I wish I knew of an instance where this approach has worked, with 100% efficiency.  Any examples?  #science

February 2012

Aquatic Nuisance Species control resources http://bit.ly/wHcpMY This web site from the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLIMRIS) has a report and over two dozen fact sheets on control methods for aquatic nuisance species.  This subject isn’t going away any time soon—start building your library of reference materials! #planning

December 2011

Broad-based coalition calls for solution to Upper Miss carp menace before spring

According to a press release from Clean Water Action, a coalition of Minnesota sportmen’s groups and environmental advocates has called for a solution to the threat posed by Asian carp, and for that solution to be in place before locks re-open for navigation in spring 2012.

Such a move would be controversial.  The economic impacts of permanent lock closure are unknown, and recreational boaters would certainly be inconvenienced.

But the eDNA of silver carp in the river above Minneapolis makes it “game on” for big stakes.

Are they or aren’t they? Can science know for sure?

This story by Josephine Marcotty in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune offers a nuanced discussion of yesterday’s announcement that silver carp eDNA has been found about the Coon Rapids Dam, in the Mississippi upstream from Minneapolis.

The question becomes more urgent now:  what does the presence of eDNAreally mean in this instance?  Science is necessary, but it may not be precise enough to support the upcoming policy decisions.

Frankly, this is in microcosm where a lot of the science-policy nexus is right now.

November 2011

Any Port in a Storm? Fisheries staff in Mississippi are trying a small (and hopefully closed) experiment to control Asian carp in a lake near the Mississippi.  According to this article, they’re releasing fingerling alligator gar, hoping those will eat small carp and reduce population growth. But what will be predator for the alligator gar once they get out?

Aquatic Invasive Species: More than Carp, and More than 1 way to cross watersheds Look here for a quick, informative discussion of the myriad challenges in keeping the Great Lakes and Mississippi Valley hydrologically separate.

Q and A with MN DNR Fisheries Director re: Asian carp As Twin Cities area river stewards come to grip with the increasing likelihood that Asian carp will be here sooner rather than later, the DNR Fisheries section head sits for an interview with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Excerpts of the discussion are here.

“Carp Fatigue”? Already? It seems that we just got started worrying about Asian carp as a threat, at least on the upper stretches of the Mississippi River.  But in Chicago, as this New York Times article shows, “carp fatigue” may already be setting in. Minnesota river-lovers maybe should start planning their “carp busting” galas!

Can we eat our way out of the carp problem? Don’t laugh… This story has interesting insights on exactly that question, including catch sizes reported by some Illinois River commercial fishermen.

Report from October 25 Meeting on Twin Cities carp threat Good information and a range of voices in this Twin Cities Daily Planet story.

October 2011

Of Canals and Carp We so often fall into a trap, only thinking of invasive species, carp in particular, coming up the Mississippi River from downstream and that the threat is limited to a single watershed or basin.  This article, 17 states now pushing for action on Asian carp, is a cogent reminder that human intervention, in this case, the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal breaks down traditional watershed boundaries.

September 2011

MN Governor Dayton calls “carp summit”

Recent news releases and exploratory scientific studies have determined that invasive species of Asian Carp may not have reached the upper Mississippi River in Minnesota—yet.  But Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton is heeding calls to “get out ahead” of the problem.  Dayton has called a “carp summit” for leaders in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and federal agencies to discuss the matter.

The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, a unit of the National Park Service located in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, has posted an “Asian Carp Action Plan” on its web site, where a pdf presentation “Carpzilla” can also be found.

Minnesota Carp Summit Here’s a brief note from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune about the “carp summit” called by Gov. Dayton on Monday 9/12/11. And Minnesota Public Radio covered the meeting also. People have told me there’s more to follow—stay tuned!

August 2011

MN DNR wants bubble barrier vs carp After last week’s announcement about the results of eDNA testing for carp presence in the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers, the Minnesota DNR is recommending a barrier of sonic bubbles to stop the spread of the carp.

Great Lakes Mississippi River Invasives Study Carp not enough to worry about? Corps of Engineers Great Lakes Mississippi River Invasives Study (GLMRIS) identifies 40 species of concern. Learn more and access many useful links and details at Treehugger.

No Asian carp found in early survey of St. Croix River

Minnesota DNR biologists found no Asian carp in a five day sampling survey conducted last week, according to a report on Minnesota Public Radio.

The DNR will hire a commercial fisherman to use large fishing nets this week in a continued search for the invasive fish.

Resources

Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee, Leading the way in Asian carp control and management.

Minimizing Lock Use and Asian Carp Expansion, John Anfinson, March, 19 2012.

River Talk on Carp

Thoughtful, and hopefully insightful, commentary by River Life on the emerging issue and the community’s response.

Carp response grows, becomes more varied, April 3 2012

News Roundup: Destructive Asian Carp Netted in MN Waters, March 6, 2012

Minneapolis Outdoors Columnist: Six Steps to Solve Carp Problem, February 14, 2012

 Good Science is Necessary, but not Sufficient, in Asian carp fight, February 1, 2012

We Can’t Afford to Stop Invasives; We Can’t Afford Not To, January 31, 2012

The Carp Are Coming! The Carp Are Coming! (And they may already be here), December 8, 2011

Study Results find Silver Carp DNA in Twin Cities Mississippi River, October 21, 2011

Posting a Quad City Times Article : Advocating a New Vision for River Connection, September 18, 2011

Summary of Key Findings from Recent USGS Study, September 7, 2011

Grass Carp Image Credit, Dan O’Keefe, Michigan Sea Grant

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