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Documenting Presence and Movements of Piscivorous Birds along the Illinois River and within the Chicago Area Waterway System

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Technical Report

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ERDC-EL Vicksburg United States

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This technical report summarizes research conducted on piscivorous birds along the Illinois River and in the Chicago Area Waterway System CAWS to assess the potential role of these birds as vectors of invasive carp bighead carp Hypophthalmichthys noblis and silver carp H. molitrix DNA deoxyribonucleic acid. To prevent invasive carp from invading the Great Lakes, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has spent considerable time and resources constructing electrical barriers in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal around Romeoville, IL, just south of the Chicago metropolitan area. Since the construction of these barriers, intensive monitoring of fish populations and invasive carp environmental DNA eDNA have been used to document the possible presence of carp above the barrier. The Asian Carp eDNA Calibration Study ECALS was designed to improve our understanding and interpretations of eDNA monitoring efforts in the Chicago Area Waterway System CAWS. Existing online bird population data sources were analyzed, and 30 Double-Crested Cormorants Phalacrocorax auritus were captured and satellite-tagged. The results from these projects are evidence that piscivorous birds are likely contributingat least in partto the presence of invasive carp DNA in the Chicago Area Waterway System.

Subject Categories:

  • Biology

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