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Leader of invasive Asian carp efforts in Illinois to speak at UToledo Lake Erie Center

While scientists at The University of Toledo are protecting the Great Lakes from invasive grass carp by targeting tributaries to Lake Erie, teams in Illinois are focused on blocking bighead and silver carp – also known as flying fish – from entering Lake Michigan.

Kevin Irons, manager for the aquatic nuisance species program at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, will give a presentation titled “Asian carp: How efforts in Illinois are protecting the Great Lakes” 7 p.m. Thursday, April 18 at the UToledo Lake Erie Center, 6200 Bayshore Road in Oregon.

Irons, who grew up in northwest Ohio and has led the Asian carp efforts from Illinois since 2010, will discuss collaborative efforts proving successful in preventing the arrival of Asian carp to the Great Lakes and reducing the population where they are found in Chicago-area waterways.

“Anchored by a system of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers electric dispersal barriers and deterrence fencing, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources coordinates on-the-water efforts to accurately identify where carp are and where they are not,” Irons said. “I also want to highlight our contracted fishing and removal program that has shown a 96-percent decline in the population front over the past seven years.”

“The work being done by Kevin Irons on Asian carp species in Illinois is important to the river ecosystems where several species of invasive carp have become abundant,” Dr. Christine Mayer, professor in the UToledo Department of Environmental Sciences and Lake Erie Center, said. “While grass carp are currently the only one of the Asian carp species present and reproducing in the Great Lakes, fishery managers and researchers in the Great Lakes benefit from knowing how control and management of Asian carp species has been approached in Midwestern rivers.”

The public is invited to the free event, which is part of the Lake Erie Center’s Public Lecture Series.

A shuttle will be available to transport visitors from UT’s Main Campus to the Lake Erie Center and back. The shuttle departs at 6:15 p.m. from the south side of Bowman-Oddy Laboratories, 3100 West Towerview Blvd. Passengers must reserve a spot.

Email or call 419.530.8360 to make a reservation for the shuttle.

The Lake Erie Center is UT’s freshwater research and science education campus focused on finding solutions to water quality issues that face the Great Lakes, including harmful algal blooms, invasive species and pollutants.

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