2013 Briefings Recap: NEMWI Coordinates Briefings on Asian Carp eDNA, Control Framework

The NEMWI coordinated two briefings for staff and the public on Asian Carp. The September 16, 2013 briefing addressed the use of environmental DNA (eDNA), its history, and future developments, in preventing the spread of Asian carp into the Great Lakes. Attendees heard from Charles Wooley (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), Kelly Baerwaldt (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), Bill Bolen (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), Dr. David Lodge (University of Notre Dame), Kevin Irons (Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources), John Navarro (Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources), and Tammy Newcomb (Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources). Speakers provided a background on the development and use of eDNA, highlighting its recent application in management and ongoing evolution. Dr. David Lodge discussed the University of Notre Dame’s role in originally developing eDNA, and that given the probabilities, a finding of eDNA most likely indicates the presence of a live Asian carp at some point. State agency representatives from Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan all noted the need to maintain the line against Asian carp (and other invasive species) moving closer to the Great Lakes, an area of agreement of the Great Lakes Governors. With limited state budgets, states have to be strategic and smart about their investments, focusing efforts in the areas where they can have the most impact. A more complete summary is available here.

The September 17, 2013 briefing reviewed the Asian Carp Control Framework for 2013, which was published in July and directs the coordinated efforts of the federal partners working to combat the spread and invasion of Asian carp. Jack Drolet, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, described the actions of the Corps for 2013, including electrical barrier construction and operations and maintenance, fish-tracking (telemetry) studies, continued study on the efficacy of the electrical barrier in deterring fish, and the ECALS study and transition of the Asian carp eDNA work to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Dr. Leon Carl, U.S. Geological Survey, described the applied research of his agency to find cost-efficient methods to combat aquatic invasive species, including a targeted microparticles to interrupt the lifecycle. Charles Wooley, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, described the efforts to monitor in the Chicago Area Waterway System and the expansion into southern Lake Michigan and western Lake Erie as an early detection system. Bill Bolen, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, described the financial support for the Asian carp efforts, much of which began and has been supported through the bi-partisan Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) but is pivoting towards base budgets for ongoing operations, monitoring and assessment, with GLRI supporting longer-term, more sustainable options, including control technologies, GLMRIS alternatives, etc. Presentation is available here.