KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Anglers and wildlife enthusiasts can breathe a sigh of relief for now. The tests for invasive Asian Carp in the Kalamazoo River are complete.
The results came back negative, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. That’s a positive for the DNR.
The DNR wanted to triple check. In June and July, the department collected 400 water samples. One sample tested positive for environmental DNA (eDNA) belonging to Silver Carp — a species of Asian Carp. That means genetic material from a Silver Carp (i.e. scales, mucous) was found in the river.
“They’re voracious feeders. They basically displace the native fish within that environment,” Seth Herbst, a DNR fisheries biologist told FOX 17 in early October.
So, the DNR and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative tested the water again on October 7th and 8th.
The DNR said another positive result for Silver Carp eDNA could indicate a greater likelihood there’s an unwelcome guest is in the river.
“That could have prompted us further action to go out and see if perhaps there was a live fish out there,” Tammy Newcomb, a DNR senior water policy advisor said.
However, there’s a bit of relief this time with the negative results.
“We’re not letting our guard down by any stretch of the imagination. We’re still doing a lot of outreach and education with anglers and boaters in the Kalamazoo River, cause they’re our eyes and ears out there on the water,” Newcomb said.
Newcomb said the fish may come up the river to spawn in the springtime. That’s when the DNR plans to return for more monitoring.