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Local refuge installs new equipment that will decrease the population of carp fish

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LEWISTOWN (WEEK)- If you have fishing along the Illinois River you have seen a fair share of carp fish. Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge has a new technology which will cut down on the number of carp fish in the river.

The objective of the fish ladder is to stop the invasive species from taking over our native fish.

"We have a sorting box at the end that has the ability to identify what species is moving through. If it's a native species it can actually move that species into its desired location, but if it identifies Asian carp, or the big headed silver carp, it can chuck them another way," said Director of Illinois River Biological Station, Jim Lamer.

Once the carp are separated from non-invasive species, they will either be disposed of or processed.

"It could be in bins for fertilizer, or for protein products, or if we worked it out right it could be used as food fish as well… finding a way to use it where we are not just throwing it out will be our end goal," said Lamer.

New equipment also provides clean water for the wetlands. Emiquon has been tracking birds along the river who live in those wetlands.

"We want to make sure we are managing them and creating habitat to provide homes for these birds because the birds rely on wetlands. Wetlands are the only places they live," Director of Forbs Biological Station, Auriel Fournier.

Tracking the birds also helps to understand if something is off in the ecosystem.

"We'll be using those results to help those with the nature conservancies, and also with state and federal agencies, make better decisions to help better manage our wetlands given they have many pressures they have to balance," said Fournier.

Water levels have been low, so Emiquon is waiting for rain so they can finally put the equipment to work.


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