Genetic Test Confirms First Grass Carp Eggs Collected in the Maumee River

October 2, 2017

Bongo sampling for grass carp eggs on the Sandusky River. Photo courtesy of Nicole King/University of Toledo.
Bongo sampling for grass carp eggs on the Sandusky River. Photo courtesy of Nicole King/University of Toledo.

The Lake Erie Committee, the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee, and state and federal resource agency partners are continuing efforts to assess the population status and distribution of grass carp in western Lake Erie. This work also includes monitoring for the presence of grass carp eggs in the Sandusky River and Maumee River in Ohio, and the River Raisin in Michigan.

Partner agencies reported the collection of grass carp eggs in the Sandusky River during summer 2017. The U.S. Geological Survey, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and the University of Toledo conducted similar sampling for eggs in the Maumee River on June 26, 2017 and July 13, 2017. Grass carp eggs were not present in samples collected on June 26, but a total of six suspect grass carp eggs were collected on July 13 just downstream of the I-80 Bridge, approximately 11.2 river miles from Lake Erie. Based on morphological characteristics the eggs were initially identified as grass carp by the University of Toledo, with later confirmation by U.S. Geological Survey.

As the first eggs presumptively identified as grass carp collected from the Maumee River, genetic confirmation tests were completed on four of the six eggs. Genetic testing confirmed that three of the four eggs were grass carp; the fourth egg was identified as a common carp. This recent discovery is not surprising in that grass carp are known to be in the Maumee River area. While this finding does not indicate the number of grass carp in the Maumee River or Lake Erie, it does underscore the continued need to refine the understanding of where grass carp are currently found so that agencies can take on-the- ground actions. The finding also reinforces the need for on-going coordination of strategic grass carp management actions implemented through member agencies of the Lake Erie Committee. Overall, this effort supports the objectives of the national Management and Control Plan for Bighead, Black, Grass, and Silver Carps in the United States.

Contact: Mark Gaikowski, 608-781- 6221, mgaikowski@usgs.gov

 

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