First Traces of Asian Carp Found in Waters of Lake Michigan - NYTimes.comhttp://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/20/science/20carp.html?hpw=&pagewanted=print[1/20/2010 8:44:00 AM]
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CHICAGO — Genetic material from the Asian carp, a voraciousinvasive specieslong feared to be nearingthe Great Lakes, has been identified for the first time at a harbor within Lake Michigan, near the Illinois-Indiana border, ecologists and federal officials said Tuesday. A second DNA match was found in a river in Illinois within a half-mile of the lake, according to scientistsat theUniversity of Notre Damewho tested water samples and provided the results to officials last week.Experts said the most recent findings, from Calumet Harbor and the Calumet River, could mean that thecarp hasfound its way beyondan elaborate barrier system built at the cost of millions of dollars to preventthe fish’s access to the Great Lakes and its delicate ecosystem, where it has no natural competitors and would threaten the life of native fish populations.“It’s a big admission of failure,” said Henry Henderson, the director of the Midwest program at theNaturalResources Defense Council.“It indicates the kind of thing we’ve been fearing since 1993.”Government officials were careful to underscore that they had not found any fish — dead or alive — despitemuch effort, and that the Asian carp’s DNA could have arrived in Lake Michigan by various means otherthan the fish’s swimming from river basins it has already overtaken farther south.“Because we don’t know for sure that the source of the DNA is live carp, we’re taking it as an early warningthat it may be live carp,” Maj. Gen. John W. Peabody of the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division of theUnited States Army Corps of Engineerssaid during a conference call to announce the findings.“As to how they got there,” General Peabody said, “the short answer is we don’t know, and there’s probably no way for us to ever tell.”Still, Great Lakes advocates and the expert who conducted the tests seemed more convinced of the fish’sphysical presence in or near Lake Michigan.“I think there’s not another plausible explanation for the presence of DNA that we’ve found other than thatthere are live fish in the vicinity,” saidDavid M. Lodge, a professor of biological sciences at Notre Dame, whose team tested the water samples.The positive DNA findings were announced on the same day theUnited States Supreme Courtdenied a