U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service New Leader in eDNA Science for the Early Detection of Asian Carp

August 14, 2013

The Midwest Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced this week that it has assumed environmental DNA (eDNA) sample processing responsibilities for the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS) for the early detection of Asian carp. The responsibility was moved from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineering and Research Development Center, Center for eDNA Application and Research, to the Service’s new Whitney Genetics Lab in Onalaska, Wisconsin.

Following a transition plan developed by the Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the opening of the Whitney Genetics Lab marks the successful completion of a two year partnership between the agencies.  With guidance from the Corps, the Service planned, constructed, equipped, staffed and calibrated a state of the art genetics lab. This task was accomplished utilizing Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding. The Whitney Genetics Lab is planning to process this year’s eDNA samples from the CAWS, and funds have also been allocated to process samples from the Great Lakes, Upper Mississippi, and Ohio Rivers.

As part of the sample processing move, the Service also announced that responsibilities for maintaining the Quality Assurance Project Plan for eDNA Monitoring of Invasive Asian Carp in the CAWS (QAPP) was also transitioned. The QAPP ensures continuity among all agencies involved in eDNA sampling activities. The Service will continue to work with all of its partners to ensure seamless coordination and implementation of the QAPP and eDNA sample processing.

Asian carp eDNA sampling is a process in which genetic material, such as cells containing DNA from tissue, mucus, feces and/or urine, is extracted from water samples to help determine the potential presence of the invasive fish. The eDNA sampling season generally runs from May to October.  eDNA results, along with the QAPP and the Service’s communication protocols for notifying affected partners, can be found online at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/fisheries/eDNA.html/

For more information on Asian carp, please visit http://asiancarp.us/. To learn more on the science of eDNA, watch the video at http://youtu.be/xXwply6ahQ8.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

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