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Multiple agencies work to remove invasive carp from Mississippi River

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 5:33 PM CDT
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) - For the second time this year, a portion of the Mississippi River is being cleared of invasive carp.

Pool 8 of the river can be found on the south end of La Crosse, and is an area which has experienced issues with invasive species in recent years.

“Two springs ago, in March, a commercial angler captured almost fifty invasive carp,” Wisconsin DNR Mississippi River Team Supervisor Jordan Weeks said. “That kind of prompted us to say hey, there’s probably more here than we ever thought.”

Invasive carp can take up the food source of a habitat, which affects the area’s natural wildlife.

To make matters worse, Hallie Rasmussen with the Upper Mississippi Wildlife Refuge says it’s difficult for wildlife to push invasive species out.

“They survive and they reproduce, and they don’t have a natural predator that’s keeping their population in check,” Rasmussen explained. “So they’re hard to control because there isn’t really anything in their natural environment that’s controlling them.”

That’s why external efforts are needed to clear out invasive carp.

Weeks says it’s difficult to know exactly how much carp are in pool 8, but the key is to remove as many as possible before the population explodes.

“Historically, in many places that invasive carp have inhabited, there hasn’t been a whole lot that can be done once they get established,” Weeks said. “We’re trying to get on the front end of this and slow them down before they can get going.”

The Wisconsin DNR is working with the Minnesota DNR, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the carp.

A similar removal effort at pool 8 took place in April, with 34 silver carp being taken out.

The current operation will be underway until Oct. 29, and results will be reported once follow-up analyses are complete.

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