1. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is preparing contracts to hire commercial fishing operators to use nets to try to capture Asian carp on the St. Croix River with netting is expected to begin at the end of August. The netting operation will take into account water levels and temperatures to minimize incidental impacts on other fish. DNR fisheries biologists will also use nets and fish-shocking gear to search for Asian carp in the St. Croix.
2. The DNR will begin trawl netting in Lake Pepin in mid-August as well as shoreline seining in various Mississippi River backwaters. The netting will target smaller, juvenile fish, including Asian carp.
3. DNR fisheries staff has been using nets and fish-shocking gear to survey fish populations throughout the summer on the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers. No Asian carp have been discovered.
4. As part of the DNR’s Asian carp plan, Minnesota DNR fisheries biologists traveled to Illinois in early August to learn more about commercial fishing activity targeted at Asian carp. The biologists also met with Illinois Department of Natural Resources personnel to learn more about carp habitat and carp-capturing techniques.
5. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton recently signed a bonding bill, approved by the Minnesota Legislature, funding a $16 million upgrade of the Coon Rapids Dam on the Mississippi River. The dam improvements are designed to provide a permanent barrier to the upstream migration of Asian carp to the upper reaches of the Mississippi River. Construction should begin in 2012.
6. The DNR solicited and received a proposal for construction of a sound and bubble barrier that could be installed at Prescott, Wis., that could slow the movement of Asian carp in the St. Croix River. The technology is untested on a large river system, and funding for installation, operation and long-term maintenance has not been determined.
7. In January 2011, officials with Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, an arm of the National Park Service, called a meeting of the principal agencies working on the Asian carp issue – Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS), and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – to discuss Asian carp strategies. The group’s principal action has been to initiate environmental DNA (eDNA)testing for Asian carp the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers, which was done June 28-29, 2011. The group has expanded to include the U.S. Geological Survey, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (navigation section), Three Rivers Park District, St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, St. Paul Port Authority, the University of Minnesota, the Prairie Island and Shakopee Dakota Communities, and the cities of Minneapolis, St. Paul and Hastings. The group has met three times and meets again Aug. 12 to review a draft Asian carp plan.
8. Two nonprofit organizations funded environment DNA (eDNA) testing for Asian carp on the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers. The St. Paul-based Mississippi River Fund contributed $10,000 and St. Croix National Scenic Riverway Fund of the St. Croix Valley Foundation contributed $7,200. The St. Croix Valley Foundation is based in Hudson, Wis.
9. The cities of Minneapolis and Hastings have passed resolutions calling on the state and federal governments to establish a formal task force and to take the actions needed to stop or slow the movement of Asian carp.
• Research studies are underway around the U.S., led by the U.S. Geological Survey, to develop methods to control or kill Asian carp, including toxicants and reproductive controls.
• The DNR is working to improve habitat and water quality for native species on the Mississippi River to better compete with Asian carp.
• Minnesota representatives participate on the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee and other national and regional efforts to address the Asian carp problem.