The battle against Asian carp continues

Ohio is still dodging the bullet or, rather, the fishhook. None of the invasive species of bighead or silver Asian carp have been found in rivers that are considered to be at high risk of infiltration.
Monitoring is taking place in the Muskingum River because of two direct water connections to Lake Erie in the river’s headwaters: a low-lying agricultural area along Killbuck Creek and a connection between the Tuscarawas River and the Little Cuyahoga River at the Ohio-Erie Canal.
The points have been identified as potential aquatic pathways between the Mississippi-Ohio rivers and Lake Erie-Great Lakes basins.
Fish shed cells, blood and tissue as they move through the water. This material, called environmental DNA, is suspended in the water and can be collected as part of a surface water sample. Surveillance detects this material and alerts surveyors to the potential of live fish in an area.
Water samples taken from the Muskingum River showed traces of Asian carp eDNA. In response, wildlife agencies deployed electrofishing crews to search for live Asian carp.
In June, 125 sites were sampled along the Muskingum River, as well as portions of the Tuscarawas and Walhonding rivers. While some grass carp were observed, no bighead or silver Asian carp were found.
The nearest eDNA detection is approximately 100 river miles from the Little Killbuck Creek connection and 120 river miles from the Ohio-Erie Canal connection.
Physical barriers prevent the invader from crossing the watershed boundary at these locations during normal weather conditions, but the areas can be at risk during extreme flooding.
Closure of these waterway “loopholes” is being studied. But, similar to that age-old question regarding the chicken and the egg, “Which came first, the eDNA or the fish?”
I hope we aren’t too late.
Along the Way:
Results from a first-of-its-kind survey of the nation’s mourning-dove hunters have been released by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, National Flyway Council and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
About 2,000 dove hunters from around the country provided wildlife biologists with information to help them manage this migratory bird.
The survey provides information on a variety of topics, including where and how often they hunt, hindrances to them engaging in their sport, and where they get their most trusted information.
Key findings include:
• Dove hunters are typically white males, 45 and older and are well-educated with higher-than-average incomes.
• Respondents said that the top hindrances to their participation are financial: the cost of gasoline, the cost of shotshells, the cost of other dove hunting gear, and the cost of hunting permits.
• Hunters mostly take fewer than 30 birds per season and hunt on private land. They typically travel 50 miles or more to get their hunting spots.
• Participants aren’t sure about the impacts of spent lead shot on dove health and don’t believe they have enough scientific information about its potential effects. They are concerned that hunter participation could be impacted if non-lead shot were to be required. The full survey results can be found at www.fishwildlife.org using the link on the home page or via http://bit.ly/DoveHunterSurvey.
Hunting has an $86.9 billion impact on the national economy and generates approximately $11.8 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues.
Step Outside:
• Opening day for migratory bird hunting seasons is Monday, Sept. 1, and includes mourning dove, Canada goose, rail, moorhen and snipe. Dove season was extended 20 days: Sept. 1-Nov. 9 and Dec. 13-Jan. 1.
• Today: Youth Day, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., HCCL, 13748 Jackson Township 168, Findlay.
• Tomorrow: Trap Shoot, 1 p.m., Mount Blanchard Gun Club, 21655 Delaware Township 186.
• Aug. 7-10: Rivers, Trails and Ales Festival, Armory Square, 243 Front St., Marietta. Road and mountain biking, paddling, regional craft beer and music. Contact: 800-288-2577, www.rtafest.com.
Abrams is a retired wildlife officer supervisor for the state Division of Wildlife in Findlay. He can be reached at P.O. Box 413, Mount Blanchard, OH 45867-0413 or via email at jimsfieldnotes@aol.com

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