Is this the Asian carp action plan we’ve been waiting for?

Last week, the federal and state and federal agencies constituting the Asian carp task force released what looked like an action plan to attack Asian carp.

The agencies’ plan is to take lethal measures to kill Asian carp wherever eDNA testing indicates those carp are present – most recently, near the O’Brien Lock and Dam and in the North Shore Channel. They will use rotenone to poison the fish in a two-mile stretch near the O’Brien section, and they will use electroshocking and netting to kill the fish in a narrow section of the North Shore Channel. In both locations, they will close the locks for several days to increase the efficiency of the response actions.

Attacking the Asian carp wherever the evidence says they are present sounds like progress to me. It sounds like the kind of action plan we asked for three months ago.

It is also a positive sign that the agencies are acknowledging by their actions that DNA evidence is a good indicator of where carp are. The agencies are using the DNA hits to determine where to attack the carp.

But while these specific measures are good ones, it is now unclear whether these actions actually part of a comprehensive plan.

Unfortunately, the agencies’ press release (pdf) makes what they are proposing sound like more monitoring and not like a new response plan. And after a conversation with agency staff, it’s clear to me that their plan is being spun as monitoring: the agencies are planning on poisoning fish to see if Asian carp are present, not killing fish because the evidence already indicates that Asian carp are present.

And that difference is important; it will make a real difference on the ground. If agencies’ activities are just monitoring, then there is no way of knowing whether new evidence of Asian carp will trigger a killing response or some form of monitoring that isn’t lethal to carp.

So if this is the agencies’ new action plan, they should tell us. And if this is not their action plan, then they should come up with one fast. It’s been over six months and the Asian carp continue to move faster than the government.

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One Response to “Is this the Asian carp action plan we’ve been waiting for?”

  1. Tom Matych Says:

    2.7 impacts to native species of the “plan” states it is known that native species, if present in sufficient numbers, can prey on juvenile Asian Carp.
    Then However they do out compete native fish. Now if we look at the “Native” fish they outcompeted, since before the Asian Carp hit down south, the dominate fish was Common carp, not a predator, cousin from back home and actually help AC by rooting and throwing food up into the water. Also states by removing AC native fish would have a chance to restore themselves, however AC would have the best chance at refilling the predator and competor free area you just created by killing it. They say AC eggs need really long rivers, so do they plan to kill one hundred miles of river? Because if they kill 5 miles of river and the AC spawn 50 miles upriver say, (3 times a year) thier fry get there first and start hogging zooplankton, refilled!

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