Asian Carp and Hydrilla are too close for comfort

New infestations of Asian carp and an invasive aquatic “superweed” reported near the Great Lakes recently. Public vigilance and precautions are critical following new reports of bighead carp and Hydrilla near the Great Lakes shores.

During the past two weeks, Asian carp were discovered by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in the St. Croix River just south of Lake Superior. Hydrilla was reported in Pymatuning Lake on the border of Ohio and Pennsylvania, just miles from Lake Erie. Neither of these aggressive aquatic invasive species is yet known within Michigan’s borders.

Keeping invasive species such as the bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis) and the “superweed” Hydrilla out of Michigan waters depends on the diligence of every person who uses Michigan’s many lakes and rivers. What can you do?

  • Follow the Clean Boats, Clean Waters message - Clean, Drain, and Dry boats and other watercraft to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
  • Volunteer with the Clean Boats, Clean Waters program. Volunteers provide training and information for boaters on how they can avoid spreading aquatic invasive species through demonstrating a simple routine where cleaning plants, mud and other debris off boats, other watercraft, and sports gear can hide.
  • Look for Clean Boats, Clean Waters volunteers and Mobile Boat Washing stations at special events at boat landings this summer, including the Michigan’sAquatic Invasive Species Landing Blitz June 26-July 5.

Why should we be concerned about these particular species? Asian carp are large filter feeding fish that compete with native fish for food. Asian carp have been assisted in their invasion by humans, in part by the use of juveniles as bait fish. Avoid this disastrous mistake and only get your live bait from licensed dealers. Hydrilla, according to Michigan Sea Grant, “is so invasive and pervasive, that it greatly disrupts the ecological balance of all the areas where it grows. Large, dense hydrilla mats inhibit sunlight from penetrating the water and shade out native plant species that live in the waters below them.”

Join the fight against aquatic invasive species and become a Clean Boats, Clean Waters volunteer. For more information about invasive aquatic plants contact me, Beth Clawson MSU Extension educator. To learn more about invasive organisms and invasive aquatic plants contact Michigan State University Extension Natural Resources educators who are working across Michigan to provide aquatic invasive species educational programming and assistance. You can contact an educator through MSU Extension’s “Find an Expert” search tool using the keywords “Natural Resources Water Quality.”

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