Asian Carp Invade Land of 10,000 Lakes

from Wildlife Promise

Silver carp jumping

Asian carp photo courtesy Jason Lindsey

Minnesota is heralded as The Land of 10,000 Lakes.  This is no exaggeration; there are 11,842 Minnesota lakes over 10 acres in size.  Not to mention the vast, deep and cold Lake Superior.  Those waters, together with forests, parks, and wilderness areas, offer Minnesotans a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities. 

Unfortunately, these abundant natural resources in Minnesota are the latest victim of Asian carp.

Known to batter boaters and even knock them into the water at the sound of a passing motor, Asian carp are voracious filter feeders that can grow to more than 4 feet long, weigh up to 100 pounds and quickly dominate a body of water by gobbling up the same food that sustains native fish populations.

Asian Carp in the Twin Cities

Earlier this summer, positive eDNA hits of Asian carp were detected(Minnesota Carp eDNA hits map )in the Mississippi, Minnesota and St. Croix rivers near the Twin Cities.  Further elevating the urgency of this crisis, on December 8th, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) officials announced that positive eDNA samples indicated that silver carp are above and below the Coon Rapids Dam – just north of the Twin Cities.

Not good news for those 11,842 lakes. 

While most of the focus remains on stopping Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes via the Chicago Waterway System, we must work to close all the doors across the Great Lakes Basin to carp.  As such, NWF and our state affiliate, Minnesota Conservation Federation (MCF), have pulled together a strong and diverse coalition of sportsmen and women, environmental groups and private property owners in calling for immediate action to stop the northward advance of carp into Minnesota’s waters.

Asian Carp Solutions

Lock #1 downtown Minneapolis

Our goal moving forward will be to find a permanent solution to stop Asian carp.  Today, our coalition announced(Coalition Press Release 12-14-2011)our recommendation that Lock #1 (near Minneapolis) remain closed after the Spring 2012 ice-out until a modified lock operation plan can be developed and implemented.  This interim measure might include limited lock hours combined with effective preventative technology to reduce northward advance of these invaders.

 

While this goal is similar to our efforts in Chicago, the political lay of the land is more promising in Minnesota.  Unlike Chicago, the state and some federal agencies are moving fast and there seems to be momentum building to prevent carp from advancing up the Mississippi River.  In fact, it is our hope that our efforts in Minnesota can serve as an example for the Chicago Waterway System that achieving a permanent solution is feasible. 

New Nickname for Minnesota?

If we don’t act now and implement a plan of action to stop carp, Minnesota better start thinking of a new state nickname. 

How about this one:  Land of 10,000 Asian Carp Infested Lakes? 

Sad, but possibly true.

Introducing: Choose Your Cause

Because of my personal experience and passion for protecting special places in Minnesota and throughout the Great Lakes, I know first-hand what a profound effect my donations to this program can have.  And, it’s why I choose to continue to support this program through NWF’s newly launched Choose Your Cause online portal.

I know that you care about protecting Minnesota’s vast water resources from Asian carp and other threats.  So, through our new Choose Your Cause site,  Just click on the cause you care about most and enjoy inspiring stories and photos from folks on-the-ground who are working tirelessly to protect the wildlife and wild places we all love.