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The Scoop

Department of the Interior
Silver carp

Verbatim: IDNR explains Wabash, Maumee carp connection

Statement issued Friday:

DNR lists facts on Asian Carp in Wabash River

Recent reports and discussions lack clarity regarding a potential connection between the Wabash and Maumee River basins and the potential for movement of Asian Carp from the Wabash watershed to the Maumee/Great Lakes watershed. To clear up these misunderstandings, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources offers the following information:

  • The potential connection is not new, nor is understanding and knowledge of the potential connection new. Rather, attention is being focused on the potential connection due to collaborative efforts between Indiana DNR, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and others to better quantify the type of flooding conditions that should present the opportunity for movement of Asian Carp. This effort is part of the larger Interbasin Study that the Corps is conducting.
  • The potential connection is due to natural geologic conditions dating back to glacial movement at the end of the Ice Age. There is a potential for movement of flood waters between the Wabash and Maumee basins in this area. Indiana DNR has long been aware of the potential flooding connection through study of floodway mapping. Under normal conditions, there is no direct physical connection between the Wabash and Maumee, but a natural backwash of flooded Maumee tributaries can spread across a broad floodplain near Fort Wayne and connect with tributaries of the Wabash.
  • Indiana DNR has been working cooperatively with the Corps of Engineers, USGS, Allen County (Indiana) surveyor and others to study the nature of flooding events in the area to determine the types of conditions needed to allow passage of Asian Carp. Once that determination has been made, the DNR will quickly turn to planning efforts on preventive measures to deter Asian Carp movement into the Maumee River watershed.
  • Asian Carp have been present in the Wabash River for at least 15 years. The mouth of the Wabash River feeds to the Ohio River, which in turn is a tributary to the Mississippi River. Asian Carp have been moving up these waterways since their accidental introduction in Arkansas in the 1970s. Indiana DNR has observed Asian Carp in spot locations on the Wabash River as far upstream as the dam that creates Roush Lake (Huntington County). The concrete and earth dam is 91-feet high and 6,500-feet wide, with a top width of 46 feet. Asian Carp would be unable to pass beyond this barrier to the upper stretches of the Wabash River.
  • In late May of this year, a DNR fisheries biologist detected an Asian Carp spawning event (specifically silver carp) in the vicinity of Lafayette, roughly 100 miles downstream from the Roush Lake dam.
  • The Wabash River flows southwest for 475 river miles from its headwaters in Mercer County (Ohio), including a 411-mile stretch from the Roush Lake dam to the Ohio River. That is the longest free-flowing stretch of any river east of the Mississippi River. The Wabash headwaters are approximately 60 land miles from the headwaters of the Maumee River in downtown Fort Wayne.

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