A press release regarding the Asian Carp study just came in....
Safety zone rescinded; waterway reopened to commercial and recreational traffic
Chicago, IL- The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (RCC) wrapped up a successful sampling and data collection operation on the Little Calumet River in South Chicago on Tuesday.
Fisheries biologists from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and other supporting agencies collected just over 100,000 pounds fish during the week long operation. Over 40 species of fish were collected though no Bighead or Silver Asian carps were found.
"We will now look at the entire body of evidence collected thus far, including eDNA sampling results and all of our conventional sampling with nets and electrofishing gear to see if we can draw any further conclusions about the risk of invasion and establishment of Asian carp in Lake Michigan through the Chicago Area Waterway System," said RCC co-chair John Rogner.
"This operation could not have succeeded without the support, patience and cooperation of the waterway operators, marina owners, recreational boaters and other boating and transportation representatives that use this waterway," said Charlie Wooley, Deputy Regional Director of the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Region. "I would like to thank all of these industry members for working with us in our mission to protect the Great Lakes."
The safety zone restrictions established on the Calumet River and Little Calumet River between mile marker 321.5 and 326.5 have been lifted by the U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port. All vessels in immediate queue above and below the O'Brien Lock are requested to contact the Coast Guard COTP representative on VHF Channel 16 or the Lockmaster at 773-646-2183 to coordinate vessel transit. Once the vessel queue is cleared, the queue will then be opened for routine vessel transit.
Environmental consulting company SET Inc., will remain in the area for the next few days to remove any fish that surface.
While the public can now access the river for fishing and other recreational purposes, dead fish should NOT be consumed in any circumstance.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) removed a number of sport fish before this week's Rotenone treatment and relocated them outside the treatment zone. IDNR fisheries will restock the area with a variety of sport fish species in the future.
Over 250 people from more than 20 local, state and federal agencies contributed to the sampling and data collection efforts.
The RCC would like to thank the Forrest Preserve District of Cook County, Sunset Bay Marina and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for allowing access to their respective properties during the operation.
Further information on the Asian Carp RCC and Asian carp control efforts can be found at http://www.asiancarp.org