Adult Common Carp movement in Rice Creek Watershed

The goal of this project was to determine the seasonal distribution and 24-hour movement patterns of common carp in the Rice Creek Watershed District (RCWD). The RCWD will use this information to attempt to restore ecological balance to the watershed and develop control strategies in a system that is currently dominated by common carp.

The Rice Creek Watershed covers over 180 square miles of urban and rural land. The main study site included one overwintering lake connected to six shallow lakes. Researchers used manual and stationary tracking of radio-tagged carp to document their movement patterns. A stationary tracking station is located just upstream of the overwintering lake, which continuously records radio-tagged fish movement between lakes. This information helps researchers know where to focus their tracking efforts for specific radio-tagged fish.

Research was focused on adult movement patterns through a complex, interconnected system of lakes. Being able to predict the carps' movements could be used to develop sustainable control strategies. Specific goals of this project includde:

  • Understanding patterns in seasonal distribution and movement patterns of adult carp
  • Understanding patterns in 24-hour movements of adult carp throughout the year
  • Recording movement between lakes through a stationary tracking station monitoring passing radio tagged fish throughout the day

This project was complemented by the work of Carp Solutions, LLC, a company assisting the RCWD in netting adult and young carp, creating a population age structure, using simulation models specific to the carp population in the RCWD, and recommending management strategies. Information on the goals of the watershed can be found in the Long Lake Targeted Watershed Demonstration Project. Additional funding was provided by the National Science Foundation.