No Asian Carp eDNA Found in Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan Waters

News Release Published: August 30, 2012 by the Wisconsin DNR Central Office

Contact(s): Bob Wakeman, DNR, (262) 719-0740,; Tim Patronski, USFWS, (612) 713-5108,

MILWAUKEE - No environmental DNA evidence of Asian carp has been found in Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan tributaries or harbors, according to results received this week by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Analysis of 275 water samples taken from Sheboygan River, Milwaukee River and Harbor, Menomonee River, Kinnickinnic River, Root River, Racine Harbor and Kenosha Harbor found no traces of silver carp or bighead carp eDNA. DNR provided boats and boat operators to help collect the water samples for analysis by the University of Notre Dame under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and funded through the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

“The great news is all of the samples taken from Wisconsin waters were negative for Asian carp,” says Bob Wakeman, DNR’s aquatic invasive species coordinator.

“Credit is due to all the partners working on this issue and to Wisconsin’s anglers. They know about the potential problems with Asian carp and not to release live bait or fish in new waterways.”

USFWS Midwest Deputy Regional Director Charlie Wooley called the Wisconsin results “very good news.”

“DNR was a fantastic state partner in the collection of water samples for eDNA testing,” he said. “This project highlights the importance of federal and state partnerships in preventing the establishment of aquatic nuisance species.”

Several species of Asian carp, voracious eaters that compete for the same food as young fish and other aquatic life, have on occasion been found in Wisconsin waters of the Mississippi River. No Asian carp have been found through traditional netting or electrofishing surveys.

eDNA has been used as an early detection surveillance tool since 2009 and provides information about whether Asian carp DNA is present in water samples. More about eDNA is available on theAsian Carp Coordinating Committee website under the sampling and monitoring heading.

More encouraging results from Wisconsin’s Upper Mississippi River testing

Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan results for 2012, along with state netting and electrofishing surveys for Asian carp in 2012 on Wisconsin waters of the Upper Mississippi River, suggest there is no Asian carp reproduction nor viable Asian carp population in Wisconsin waters, according to John Lyons, a longtime DNR fisheries researcher and fish identification expert.

“The eDNA conclusions for Wisconsin are consistent with our fish sampling results in the Mississippi River along Grant County over the past 10 years – we’ve found no Asian carp during sampling. The occasional carp finds in the Mississippi, lower St. Croix, and lower Wisconsin rivers all appear to be strays from outside the state,” Lyons says. “There is as yet no evidence of successful Asian carp reproduction or a viable Asian carp population in Wisconsin waters.”

More information on efforts to prevent Asian carp from getting into Lake Michigan and the Upper Mississippi River, along with photos to help anglers and others identify Asian carp species and what to do if they catch or see such species, can be found on DNR’s Asian Carp Control pages.