Campus Units

Natural Resource Ecology and Management

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Publication Version

Accepted Manuscript

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management




Grass Carp Ctenopharyngodon idella have been intentionally stocked for aquatic vegetation control across the Midwestern United States for several decades. During the 1970s, escapement of Grass Carp into the Missouri River facilitated their naturalization into much of the Mississippi River basin, including the Upper Mississippi River. Lock and Dam 19 (LD19) in Keokuk, Iowa, a high-head dam, represents a focal point for naturalized Grass Carp management where populations may differ between upstream and downstream pools due to limited upstream migration, but potential differences between populations have yet to be evaluated to the best of our knowledge. The objective of this study was to compare the relative abundance, size structure, condition, growth, and recruitment variability of Grass Carp collected upstream and downstream of LD19. Grass Carp were sampled monthly (April-October) during 2014 and 2015 from four locations in the Des Moines River (downstream of LD19) and five locations throughout the Skunk, Iowa, and Cedar rivers (upstream of LD19) using boat electrofishing and trammel net sets. Twenty nine Grass Carp were captured upstream of LD19 compared to 179 individuals captured downstream. Trammel nets only captured Grass Carp downstream of LD19; trammel net catch per unit effort upstream of LD19 was low and ranged from 0 to 8.0 fish/net lift (mean ± SE = 0.39 ± 0.13). Electrofishing catch per unit effort ranged from 0 to 22.7 fish/h (1.49 ± 0.30) and was higher downstream (2.42 ± 0.30) of LD19 than upstream (0.57 ± 0.07). Grass Carp downstream of LD19 tended to be smaller, younger, of lower body condition, had higher mortality rates, and were slower growing compared to those collected upstream and to populations documented in other systems. Understanding and monitoring adult Grass Carp population characteristics upstream and downstream of LD19 is necessary to determine how they may change in response to ongoing harvest efforts for invasive carps in these river reaches.


This is a manuscript of an article published as Christopher J Sullivan, Michael Weber, Clay Pierce, and Carlos A Camacho (2020) A comparison of Grass Carp population characteristics upstream and downstream of Lock and Dam 19 of the Upper Mississippi River. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management. doi: 10.3996/062019-JFWM-046.


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