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the decidedly ugly creatures started showing up in the Missouri River and parts of three eastern South Dakota tributaries that flow into the river below Gavin's Point Dam. Those few individuals were the vanguard of a marauding army of Asian carp making steady progress north through the Mississippi River basin.
In 2010 and 2011 massive floods gave them an opportunity to spawn more successfully and move farther than they ever had in the Missouri and its three eastern South Dakota tributaries. That created one of the largest year classes of two species of Asian carp big head and silver carp ever seen in the Missouri basin. And now those fish are old enough to reproduce.
Eating plankton isn't all that special, most fish species start life by eating microscopic life forms before they grow and move on to bigger fare. Silver and big head carp, however, never stop eating plankton and they grow to enormous proportions both species are known to reach more than 40 pounds.
A few years ago, St. Sauver said, a pair of anglers started fish below the dam and caught what they thought was a salmon. They then went above the dam where they were checked by conservation officers, who discovered a live Asian carp in their boat's live well.
Still, given the relatively recent nature of the Asian carp invasion and the lack of any concrete proof that they do in fact destroy native fish populations GF officials aren't predicting doomsday just yet.
"The one thing we can't control is people. If someone decides to move one of these things we won't be able to stop them," St Sauver said.
"The rivers have been pretty resilient so far but are Asian carp the straw that's going to break the camel's back we don't know," Greab said.
"Those are the only two barriers standing between Asian Carp and spreading north," said GF regional fisheries manager Todd St. Sauver.
Asian carps invade the rivers of eastern South Dakota
Asian carp, jolted by an electric current from a research boat, jump from the Illinois River near Havana, Ill., during a 2012 study on the fish's population. South Dakota officials are creating new regulations to deal with the invasive species in state rivers.(Photo: AP)It began slowly about 10 years ago when a few of Adidas Duramo 6 - White/Grey/White
That adaption is what makes Asian carp such a threat. Not only can they out compete young native game fish and bait fish they can outgrow predators within the first year or two of life, Greab said.
What the effect of the carp invasion will be remains to be seen. Asian carp definitely have the potential to collapse native food webs but, so far, that hasn't been seen in any of the waters they've invaded, even the Illinois River.
If Asian carp do get above the Vermillion dam and the Sioux Falls they could infest nearly every water system in eastern South Dakota.
started an advertising campaign aimed at educating outdoors enthusiasts about them.
"They could absolutely out compete any other species," said GF Aquatic Invasive Species coordinator Mike Smith.
It has already happened in the Illinois River south of the Great Lakes. Asian carp now make up about 95 percent of Adidas Harden Triple Black
Asian carp first appeared in the United States in the 1970's. Fish farms brought them from their native rivers in Asia to clean commercial fish ponds because, unlike most North American fish species, they feed by filtering plankton and zooplankton from the water.
"They're rare in the minnow family in that they live long and they get huge," Greab said.
The carp invasion has forced GF officials to close nearly all flowing water below Sioux Falls on the Big Sioux and Vermillion Rivers and all water in the James River watershed to bait capture in an effort to prevent their spread. The department also created a list of new regulations aimed at preventing the spread of Aquatic Invasive species and has Adidas Duramo 7 Green
that river's biomass, Smith said. State and local governments in the great lakes region have been forced to spend millions of dollars trying to hold the invaders back from the lakes.
In 2009 GF partnered with fisheries biologists from SDSU to study the carp invasion. At first there were only a few fish found in the James River, Big Sioux River and the Vermillion River. In the beginning researchers believed those slow flowing, shallow prairie rivers wouldn't support Asian Carp populations, said South Dakota State University fisheries biologist Brian Greab, who was part of the research team studying Asian carp in the state.
Then came the floods of 2010 and 2011.
"We saw what these rivers look like when they flood it's incredible," Graeb said. In the Big Sioux and Vermillion rivers carp were able to invade as far north as Sioux Falls and Lake Vermillion. They were only stopped by the Sioux Falls and Vermillion dam.
But that may not be enough, there have already been Adidas Energy Boost 3 Test some close calls near the Gavin's Point Dam.
"We're concerned, we want to do what's right Is it armageddon for South Dakota? Based on other states no I don't think the fishing industry has been destroyed" St Sauver said. "I don't sit here and quiver with fear.".
In South Dakota, Asian carp were first noticed about 10 years ago when big head carp started showing up in fish monitoring studies below Gavin's Point Dam. Not long after that boaters started to report seeing silver carp in the same area.
That has Game, Fish and Parks officials very concerned.
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