Congressional Briefing on Efforts to Control Asian Carp in the Mississippi River Basin

A full room of people look at a man making a presentation.

The Northeast-Midwest Institute, in cooperation with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, co-hosted a Congressional briefing with the Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Association (MICRA), focused on efforts to control Asian carp in the Upper Mississippi River and Ohio River basins on Wednesday, June 22, 2016 in the Dirksen Senate office building. The presentation slides can be found here. The briefing was the first to specifically address monitoring efforts and methods of controlling carp in the Mississippi River basin. Attendees represented approximately thirty Congressional offices and a variety of national and regional stakeholders. Seven panelists from federal and state agencies discussed the current state of the threat presented by Asian carp in the Upper Mississippi and Ohio River basins and strategies for monitoring and managing the invasive species. The presentation slides can be found here.

Jared Mott, Senior Policy Analyst at the Northeast-Midwest Institute, offered opening remarks and introduced the speakers. That group included:

  • Aaron Woldt, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Asian Carp Coordinator
  • Greg Conover, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and MICRA Coordinator
  • Ron Brooks, Kentucky Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Resources and MICRA chairman
  • Nick Frohnauer, Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources
  • Charlie Hanneken, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Rip Shively, U.S. Geological Survey
  • Mike Weimer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Co-Chair of the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (ACRCC)

Mr. Aaron Woldt began the briefing by describing the need for management and control of Asian carp in the Upper Mississippi and Ohio River basins. He educated attendees about a few different responses to Asian carp including The Management and Control Plan for Bighead, Black, Grass, and Silver Carps in the United States and the Asian Carp Action Plan in the Great Lakes. Mr. Woldt also discussed a new report to Congress authorized in the 2014 Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), which provided direction and funding to control the presence of Asian carp in the Upper Mississippi and Ohio River basins.

Mr. Greg Conover discussed the current state of Asian carp threat in the Mississippi River basin and efforts to harvest the fish. Mr. Ron Brooks and Mr. Nick Frohnauer elaborated on the current actions being taken to monitor and address the carp threat in the Ohio and Mississippi River basins by state fisheries agencies. Mr. Charlie Hanneken informed attendees about potential deterrents to carp movement using existing Army Corps infrastructure as well as coordination with other agencies. Mr. Rip Shively described some of the tools and technology available to fight the population of carp including carbon dioxide, underwater sound, and microparticles. Finally, Mr. Mike Weimer discussed some of the efforts to coordinate Asian carp prevention and control efforts between agencies and regions. Following the panelists’ presentations, attendees were given the opportunity to ask questions.