Carcass of Leaping Asian Carp Found on Mississippi River

By KBJR News 1

Water samples from the St. Croix River have tested positive for genetic material from silver carp, suggesting the invasive, leaping Asian species may be present in the river as far north as the dam at St. Croix Falls, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

August 22, 2013 Updated Aug 22, 2013 at 1:27 PM CDT

Winona, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- The carcass of a silver carp was recently found on a dam abutment along the Mississippi River just north of Winona, MN.

This is the furthest upstream a silver carp has been discovered in the Mississippi River, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

“Finding this carp on the sill of the dam suggests that it was attempting to jump over it; it wasn’t just leaping due to a disturbance,” said Nick Frohnauer, DNR invasive fish coordinator. “That confirms our assumption that silver carp may use their leaping ability to attempt to overcome barriers.”

A worker with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service first noticed the fish on August 9th. The fish was atop a concrete abutment just below Lock and Dam 5, about 20 miles further upstream of the previously northernmost instance of a silver carp.

Because the carp had been dead for at least a week, weight, gender and reproductive ability could not be determined, but the carcass measured about 30 inches long.

Silver carp are one of four species of invasive Asian carp threatening the Mississippi River and other native ecosystems. They can grow to 60 pounds, and they impact the base of the food chain by consuming large amounts of plankton that native fish also rely on.

Populations of bighead and silver carp are established in the Mississippi River and its tributaries downstream of Pool 16 in Iowa. Bighead carp have been found in Lake Pepin and the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers, and as far north as the mouth of the St. Croix in Prescott, Wis.

However, there is no indication bighead or silver carp are reproducing in the Minnesota waters of the Mississippi or St. Croix rivers.

DNR officials maintain that the best approach to keeping Asian carp out of the upper Mississippi River watershed is to close the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock.

Posted to the web by Krista Burns
kburns@kbjr.com