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Asian Carp Warning

Beware of the flying fish in the Wabash River…the Asian Carp!  Most people living in Indiana have heard about the problems with Asian Carp.  But what are Carp and what is the problem with them living here?

Carp are a family of fish native to Europe and Asia. Common carp were introduced into the US over 100 years ago and have become part of our water ecosystem.  The most recent carp to be introduced in the US in the 1970s are bighead carp, black carp, and silver carp. These are the ones collectively known as the nuisance Asian carp and have invaded the waters of the Mississippi watershed, including the Wabash river south of the dams in Huntington.    

So, the question is, if the common carp have integrated into our aquatic ecosystem why are the other Asian carp a problem?  These fish grow to enormous sizes by out competing other fish for food and habitat and have been found to dominate entire streams. Silver carp, which can weigh as much as 110 pounds, will fly out of the water at high speeds when the water is disturbed.  This is thought to be because the sound reverberation through the water is an irritant to them. Check out this video to see these flying fish!

While it can be amusing watching these fish around your boat, you probably would not be laughing if you got struck by one at 40 mph.  Please take extra caution while on the Wabash River to avoid any potential injury or flipping your boat if one lands in it.

The National Park Service recommends the following to prevent the spread of these invasive fish:

  • Don't harvest bait or transport water from infested areas
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash, NOT in water bodies.
  • NEVER release fish from one water body into another
  • Report any new sightings to the National Park Service
  • Drain and rinse your boat when you are done boating
  • Spread the word! The more people who know about the problems Asian carp cause and how they can help keep them out of the Great Lakes, the easier it will be to stop these fish.

The construction of a continental divide!

In 2010, Eagle Marsh Nature Preserve located in Fort Wayne, Indiana was identified as a potential site where Asian carp could transfer from the Mississippi River watershed to the Great Lakes watershed as the floodwater from the two watersheds mix at this location. Eagle Marsh is jointly owned by the land trust Little River Wetlands Project (LRWP) and the Indiana DNR Division of Nature Preserves with a conservation easement held by the Natural Resources Conservation Service through the Wetland Reserve Program. Within months, multiple federal and state partners installed a 1,200 ft. chain link fence to stop adult Asian carp from crossing at Eagle Marsh during flooding while the area was examined to see if transfer was possible at the site.

After further study by the US Army Corps of Engineers, Eagle Marsh was identified in 2012 as the site with the second highest risk of aquatic nuisance species transfer, just behind the Chicago shipping canal. From 2012 to 2015, a collaborative group of multiple divisions of the Indiana DNR, NRCS, and US Army Corps of Engineers along with 20+ local, state, and federal stakeholders completed a 9,000+ ft. long barrier to stop Asian carp. This proactive project was constructed to stop 200 aquatic nuisance species including Asian Carp from transferring between the major watersheds.  LRWP has transformed the  Aquatic Nuisance Species Barrier into a community asset by creating a Continental Divide Trail with interpretative signs about the barrier project, invasive species, and watersheds.