Asian Carp Rapid Response Workgroup finishes operation on Cal-Sag Channel – Illinois DNR

Illinois Department of Natural Resources


December 8, 2009

Chris McCloud (IDNR), 217 785-0075

Mick Hans (USEPA), 312-353-5050

Lynne Whelan (USACE), 312 846-5330
Lt. Dave French (USCG), 216 902-6021

CHICAGO – The Asian Carp Rapid Response Workgroup has completed fishing operations near the T.J. O'Brien Lock in an attempt to locate Asian carp after eDNA sampling in the area tested positive for the invasive species. The Workgroup used commercial fishermen and federal fisheries personnel to deploy nearly 3,000 yards of fishing nets along a 5.5-mile stretch of the Cal-Sag Channel. While the nets were successful in collecting more than 800 fish, no Asian carp were found. The catch included more than 700 common carp and 10 other species.

The fishing operations that began on Dec. 1, wrapped up late yesterday, Dec. 7. On Monday evening, the U.S. Coast Guard reopened the Cal-Sag Channel and Little Calumet River to vessel traffic.

While the fishing operations and the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal rotenone application have thus far confirmed just one Bighead Asian carp, the Workgroup expects their work to continue for some time.

eDNA is serving its purpose as an early warning system and suggests that Asian carp may have reached the Cal-Sag Channel. Based on recent sampling and the fish collection efforts there, the Workgroup believes that if Asian carp are present, their numbers are likely very small. The Workgroup and its partners are committed to remaining vigilant in the future and exploring all options available to prevent the spread of Asian carp to the Great Lakes.

Among the next steps already underway to prevent the spread of the destructive fish to the Great Lakes:

  • Illinois Department of Natural Resources and other partners will evaluate the week's efforts and develop options for additional carp population assessment and control in the Cal-Sag Channel and Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will continue their eDNA sampling effort with the University of Notre Dame
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are focused on addressing potential bypass issues (along the Des Plaines River, I&M Canal, Grand Calumet and Little Calumet River), the interbasin study and expedited construction of barrier IIB
  • The Rapid Response Workgroup partners are evaluating a range of additional options and consequences for Asian carp prevention management strategies in the waterways—and potentially, further into the Great Lakes

The Asian Carp Rapid Response Workgroup includes the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Chicago Department of Environment, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, Midwest Generation, Great Lakes Commission, Great Lakes Fishery, Commission, International Joint Commission, and Wisconsin Sea Grant. Fisheries management agencies from Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Canada have also provided support to the operation.

Additional media resources:

Marc Gaden (Great Lakes Fishery Commission), 734-744-5716

Larry Merritt (Chicago DOE), 312 744-5716