Lone Carp Among Thousands of Dead Fish

2,200 gallons of poison were dumped in Sanitary and Shipping canal

By BJ Lutz
|  Friday, Dec 4, 2009  |  Updated 12:52 PM CDT
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Carp "Basically Living Missiles"

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Asian Carp "Knocking on the Door of Great Lakes"

Department of Natural Resources assistant director John Rogner explains the first day of battle against the Asian Carp in the Sanitary and Shipping Canal.

Where Are All the Dead Carp?

John Rogner with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources explains the cleanup process and the aftermath of the rotenone treatment.
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After pouring 2,200 gallons of poison into a shipping canal leading to Lake Michigan, Illinois environmental officials say they found just one dead Asian carp -- leading observers to question the poison plan's effectiveness.

Officials intended the poison to stop the advance of the scavenger fish toward Lake Michigan where, if introduced, they could have serious repercussions on the lakes' $7-billion-a-year fishing industry.

But officials say the lone carp kill actually reaffirms the need for poisoning the water, since the dead fish was found so near the lake.

The 22-inch long fish was recovered by boat near the Lockport Lock and Dam, near the end of the six-mile kill zone. It is the closest the body of an Asian carp has been found to Lake Michigan.

"We believe this will reduce or eliminate any remaining doubt on the need for this operation.  We've now confirmed with a body, what the eDNA evidence has suggested:  that Asian Carp are indeed knocking on the door of the Great Lakes," said Department of Natural Resources Assistant Director John Rogner.

The fish, he implied, are still on the march.

The poison used, rotenone, is a toxic chemical used by wildlife officials for decades to eradicate invasive fish.

If the poison does end up killing the carp in the canal, more will need to be done.

"The problem does not go away after the poison has floated down the canal," Henry Henderson, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's Midwest Program, told the Chicago Tribune. "It will require proactive and thoughtful action, two things that have been scarce during this slow-motion disaster."

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