Adult Common Carp movement in Rice Creek Watershed

Project manager: Peter Sorensen

Funded by: Rice Creek Watershed District

Description: The goal of this project is 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 in an attempt to restore ecological balance to the watershed and develop control strategies in a system that is currently dominated by common carp. Funding is provided by the National Science Foundation. This project collaborates with the Department of Computer Science at the University of Minnesota to develop autonomous, robotic tracking of radio tagged carp.

The Rice Creek Watershed covers over 180 square miles of urban and rural land. The main study site includes one overwintering lake connected to six shallow lakes. Researchers use 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 is focused strictly on adult movement patterns through a complex, interconnected system of lakes; if carp movement is predictable, their movements can be used to develop sustainable control strategies. Specific goals of this project include:

  • 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 will be 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 link below for the Long Lake Targeted Watershed Demonstration Project.

Project state date: 2013

Project end date: 2016

Final report: Partial migration, homing, diel activity, and distribution of adult common carp across a large, model watershed in the North American Midwest

Progress and updates: