CAPTURED: Bighead Carp in Lake Calumet. Unfortunately, this discovery is not a good sign, but it did confirm the presence of live Asian carp with unimpeded access to Lake Michigan and validates earlier findings of environmental DNA (eDNA) of Asian carp, which indicated the fish were nearby.

The Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative (ND-ECI) is tackling the interrelated problems of invasive species, land use, and climate change, focusing on their synergistic effects on water resources. The goal of ND-ECI is to provide solutions that minimize the conflicts between human welfare and environmental health where problems are unavoidable, and to discover equally favorable solutions where they are possible.

The eDNA (DNA in microscopic bits of tissue shed from the fish) was discovered by a research group from the University of Notre Dame and The Nature Conservancy (TNC), led by Notre Dame biologists David Lodge, Andrew Mahon, and Christopher Jerde, and Lindsay Chadderton of TNC.

“While some Asian carp may already have escaped into Lake Michigan, the establishment of reproducing, self-sustaining populations in Lake Michigan is far from certain,” Lodge said. “The likelihood of invasion increases as the number of escaping carp increases. Thus, management to prevent invasion of the Great Lakes is urgent and should focus on minimizing the numbers of Asian carp with access to Lake Michigan.”