Asian Carp Discovered Near Lake Decatur
Decatur city officials say low water levels and high heat is what killed several thousand fish, including the invasive Asian carp, below the dam between Lake Decatur and the Sangamon River.
The discovery of the fish did not come as much of a surprise to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Spokesman Chris McCloud said the fish tend to move in migratory areas.
"Illinois has the most rivers, lakes and streams of any state in the entire country, and many of those tributaries are connected," McCloud said. "So, is it a surprise that they're there? No. It's just that we have not seen them in that many numbers in quite a while."
Asian carp have long been in the Sangamon River, but have never been seen so close to the lake. Lake Maintenance Supervisor Joe Nihiser said he noticed the Asian carp a couple of weeks ago, but he said there is no evidence to suggest that the carp have made it into Lake Decatur.
"We will just continue to monitor the tail pool to see what kind of activity we have with these Asian carp," Nihiser said. "Naturally they swim upstream to where there's water that is moving or has ripples in it."
The fish have spread throughout the Mississippi, Illinois and Ohio river basins.
The Asian carp are known to compete with other fish for food by eating large quantities of plankton. Decatur city officials worry that the fish may damage sport fish populations.
Anyone who catches a silver carp or bighead carp alive should call Decatur Lake Management at 217-424-2837.