MDC will remove invasive carp from lower Grand River Sept. 11-14 and Sept. 25-28
COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is conducting an invasive carp removal on the lower Grand River. This effort will seek to build off last year’s work and inform management of invasive carp populations in the state’s big rivers and their smaller connected rivers and creeks. From Sept. 11-14 and 25-28, MDC will close the Brunswick Access for the fish removal project. The project is being conducted in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Crews will be removing the carp from the river, and a commercial fishing operation will then process the fish into various products such as food for human consumption, as a protein additive for animal feeds, and for prepared fish bait used by anglers.
This year’s goal is to continue to build off last year’s success. Over 24,000 pounds of invasive carp were removed during the last year’s event with data indicating that invasive carp densities 3 weeks post-removal remained below pre-removal levels. MDC will be targeting similar amounts this year, but under more open river conditions. Last year’s effort was done in a closed system by netting off sections of the Grand River to keep invasive carp from leaving or entering the area. This year, the river will not be blocked off with nets.
Removal efforts like this project have potential to increase the available food and habitat for native fish in the Grand and Missouri rivers such as catfish, paddlefish, sturgeon, buffalo, and the many smaller fish species that are part of the ecosystem. The invasive carp tend to spawn in the slower feeder streams, and both young and mature carp congregate in the nutrient-rich water of deep pools. Continued work in those areas has the potential to remove large numbers of invasive carp for the betterment of the native species competing for resources in those areas.
Invasive carp reproduce prolifically and grow quickly to sizes too big for native predator fish to consume. They filter food and nutrients from the water that are needed by the many fish species native to the rivers, including those popular with anglers. One invader, silver carp, grow to large sizes and leap from the water when startled, and they can seriously injure boaters. The removal will target silver, bighead, grass, and black carp. Any other fish species captured will be measured and released as part of research and monitoring of the river’s fishery.
MDC has fish population sampling data from prior years and populations will be sampled after the carp removal. Biologists will monitor how native fish populations respond and how quickly invasive carp re-populate the stream section.
During the operation, the Grand River can still be accessed by boaters via the Bosworth Access, however, MDC encourages boaters to avoid or limit use on the lower Grand River during these removal efforts. For those who may travel through the area during the removal efforts, MDC asks that they use caution to avoid interrupting the removal efforts. The Missouri River will still be accessible by boaters via MDC’s Miami, Waverly, Dalton, and Glasgow fishing accesses. Bank fishing will still be allowed during the operation.
For more information on managing invasive carp, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/4Tr.