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Asian Carp: "Oh crap, they hurt" on the Wabash River

Josh Mogerman

Posted August 13, 2010 in Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

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Brendan Kearns can’t stop giggling. What he saw on a recent river tour with his pal Mark Kirby is indeed amazing, the water was alive with massive jumping fish that eventually pelt their boat. It is so amazing that his only reaction is to laugh in wonder.

I can’t blame him. It is hard to believe the video. But there is nothing funny about what they saw as they cruised down the Wabash River near Terre Haute, IN. His video shows the advancing invasion of Asian carp up the Wabash from the Ohio. As the Terre Haute Tribune Star notes:

On past river excursions, Kearns said it was not unusual to see a single Silver Carp jump in his boat’s wake every few minutes. But “on that Sunday [August 1], we saw more than usual,” Kearns said.

...

The Big Head and Silver carp were first discovered in Indiana waters in the mid-1990s in the southwest tip of Indiana near the Ohio River, Bloom said. The state has monitored their presence ever since and some of the fish have more recently been discovered in the northern part of the Wabash River. In Illinois, some have been found very close to Lake Michigan.

What this video makes clear is that Lake Michigan is not the only Great Lake at risk.

After initially discounting concerns from NRDC, Alliance for the Great Lakes, NWF and other groups, the Army Corps of Engineers and state wildlife regulators are scrambling to set up barriers in areas where a flood plain connects the Wabash with the Maumee River. It is a gateway for the invasive fish to swim into Lake Erie.

While the images are breathtaking, Brendan’s video is not much different from footage taken on the Illinois, Fox and Missouri Rivers where silver carp also swarm (although, from a production value perspective, this is vastly superior---most of the YouTube clips are so shaky…). In some areas, like Peoria, IL, the infestation has gotten so bad that people have had to stop recreating on the waterway. For them, there is no novelty to these images.

I’d bet that Brendan would like to avoid this becoming too commonplace---he shouts “oh crap, they hurt” after being nailed by one in the video. At least he kept his good humor about it...

 

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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