Officials retest Kalamazoo River for Asian Carp DNA

Posted at 7:18 PM, Oct 08, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-08 19:18:39-04

ALLEGAN, Mich. – Wildlife experts and Michigan DNR officers retested the Kalamazoo River Wednesday after last summer’s discovery of Asian Carp DNA in the river.

The Asian Carp is an invasive fish that could ultimately ruin the ecosystem of the Great Lakes.

Michigan DNR Officer Seth Herbst said they’re ferocious feeders.

“They basically displace the native fish within any environment,” said Herbst.

That’s why the DNR has teamed up with the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to retest the waters. 200 samples were taken during June, and then 200 more in July.

Out of those 400 samples, only one came back positive for Silver Carp.   However, the DNR is not taking any chances.

Herbst gave us an inside look at the extensive lengths his department is taking to scan the lake for Environmental DNA resembling the Asian Carp.

He and his team collected DNA all along the Kalamazoo River banks. They then took those sample to a testing trailer outside the Allegan Parks and Recreation Center, where they filtered the water down to the size of filter papers… which will be shipped off to a genetics lab in La Crosse, Wisc.

“We don’t necessarily feel that there is a viable population of silver carp or any Asian Carp in the Kalamazoo River,” said Herbst. “But also from a public health stand point, I’m sure many viewers are familiar with seeing YouTube clips of them jumping in the air. Those fish have the capability of jumping 10 feet out of the water”

Of course, this isn’t the only battle being waged against the Asian Carp.

In Chicago, they’ve installed an electric barrier to keep them from coming up the Mississippi River basin into Lake Michigan; while states battle over whether they should close the shipping locks in Chicago.  This is something the city has been unwilling to do.

Unfortunately, if Asian Carp are proven to be on this side of the lake, it may already be too late.