Accelerating Plans for Integrated Control of the Common Carp

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2009 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Environment & Natural Resources Trust Fund
University of Minnesota
Recipient Type
Public College/University
Start Date
July 2008
End Date
June 2011
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2008, Chp. 367, Sec. 2, Subd. 04b
Appropriation Language

$550,000 is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota to accelerate research on new approaches to control the invasive common carp. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2011, at which time the project must be completed and final products delivered, unless an earlier date is specified in the work program.

2009 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Project Overview

Overall Project Outcome and Results
The common carp (Cyprinus carpio) was introduced to Minnesota in the late 1800s and quickly came to dominate the fish communities in the south-central portion of the state where it is now responsible for poor water quality and greatly reduced duck habitat. Our previous Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF) funded projects from appropriations in 2003 and 2005 had suggested that recruitment (survival of fertilized eggs to adulthood) might be a key weakness in the life history of the carp and that predatory fish, odors, or sounds might be used to control recruitment. This project investigated these possibilities in six studies ('results'):

  1. For the first, we monitored the fate of carp eggs and larvae in both the field and lab to determine if predators might be eating them. We discovered that bluegill sunfish, a native game-fish, consume large numbers of carp eggs and larvae.
  2. For result 2 we examined correlations between the abundance of young-of-the-year (YOY) carp and predatory game-fish across two dozen lakes using trap-net surveys. We discovered the YOY carp are rarely found in lakes that have bluegills, suggesting that bluegills control carp in lakes.
  3. A third study examined the age structure of several populations of adult carp. It found that YOY carp only recruit in years and places where winter oxygen levels are low enough to kill bluegills.
  4. A fourth study examined whether food odors might be used to enhance capture rates of YOY carp. While, we found evidence that certain baits are attractive in the lab, field results were variable and application appeared impractical.
  5. A fifth study examined pheromones for use in YOY removal and came to a similar conclusion.
  6. Lastly, we examined whether air-bubble curtains have potential to reduce the movement of YOY carps from nursery areas by producing sound. These results were promising.
  7. In summary, this project provided compelling evidence that populations of invasive carp can be controlled by promoting the abundance of native predators and controlling movement using bubble barriers.

Project Results and Dissemination The results of this project are presently being implemented by the Riley Purgatory Bluff Creek Watershed District and the Ramsey Washington Metro Watershed District. Both watersheds report that carp densities are reduced and under control while water quality has improved. The barrier bubble developed here is now being developed further by another ENRTF project. This work has been described in 6 peer-reviewed publications (with more in review), over a dozen scientific meetings, a dozen agency meetings and in at least 6 press and TV reports.

Project Details