Science Center Objects

Adult bighead, silver, and hybrid carp are invavsive species of fish that spread quickly once they are established in a water body. These carp damage habitat and reduce water-quality for native fish. Invasive carp have been confirmed within the Wabash River basin for at least 15 years. Scientists and natural resource managers are extremely concerned about the carp migrating to the Great Lakes. Introduction of invasive carp to the Great Lakes could be catastrophic to the native ecosystem.

Catching invasive carp

We have a key role in assisting with invasive carp control by providing real-time monitoring data and developing new tools such as the carbon dioxide barrier.

Invasive carp have been in the Wabash River basin for at least 15 years. We have found that during certain spring conditions, the Wabash River basin intermittently connects with the Maumee Basin (Lake Erie) during flood stage through a former glacial channel at Eagle Marsh in northeast Indiana. Construction of an aquatic nuisance species control (ANSC) barrier and spillway has been completed by partner agencies along Graham-McCulloch Ditch to enhance separation of the basins and prevent Asian carp and other aquatic invasive species migration through the marsh to the Great Lakes.

Invasive Carp Monitoring

Our research in invasive carp monitoring is focused on

  • Detecting real-time movement patterns of invasive carp in the upper Wabash and Little River that have been tagged with an implanted sensor. More than 200 fish were caught, tagged, and released back into the Wabash River by Purdue University. Carp detections are available by text or email through USGS Water Alert!
  • Monitoring stage, velocity, and water temperature at Junk and Graham-McCulloch ditches. Both are potential migration pathways through Eagle Marsh and into the St. Mary’s river during floods.
  • Monitoring real-time video from a webcam installed in Eagle Marsh for water-level changes that may allow the Wabash River Basin and Maumee River basin to connect.

Carbon Dioxide Barrier

USGS and the University of Illinois are cooperating on a study to determine if carbon dioxide can be used as a barrier to asian carp movement. To test carbon dioxide as a barrier, we will be collecting and analyzing water-quality data at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam test site.

Continuous Sampling 

  • temperature
  • pH
  • dissolved oxygen
  • specific conductance
  • turbidity
  • dissolved carbon dioxide

Seasonal sampling

  • important hydrologic events
  • warm weather
  • urban agriculture fertilizer application
  • snowmelt runoff

Discrete Sampling

  • Chlorophyll-a
  • pH
  • dissolved oxygen
  • specific conductance
  • turbidity
  • dissolved carbon dioxide

Grab sampling

  • Chlorophyll-a
  • dissolved gas

Composite sampling (Fultz pump thru vertical at constant rate) 

  • biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5)
  • alkalinity
  • major Ions
  • nutrients
  • dissolved organic carbon 
  • dissolved inorganic carbon