Aquatic invasive species include plants and animals living in and degrading the quality of our waterways. Species like zebra mussels, bighead and silver carp, and curlyleaf pondweed are changing the dynamics of our underwater habitats. No waterway, from Lake Erie to the Ohio River, is immune to the negative impacts of aquatic invasive species, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, along with many state and federal partners, are continually monitoring these risks.
AIS may live entirely within or partially in an aquatic habitat. Below is a list of some Ohio's top threats. The list is not fully inclusive and the USGS maintains an additional list of AIS in the U.S.
Invasive Carp in Ohio
There are four species of carp, native to Asia, that are invasive and dangerous to Ohio, Lake Erie, and the Great Lakes system. Two species, bighead and silver carp, pose a particularly high risk for fish life as well as boaters in Ohio.
Bighead carp can commonly weigh 40 pounds but have been recorded up to 100 pounds and silver carp weigh about 20 pounds. Silver carp are capable of jumping great heights out of the water, potentially injuring recreational boaters and anglers. Silver and bighead carps feed on plankton and could out-compete native Ohio species that depend on plankton (e.g., yellow perch).
Black carp are known molluscivores and have not been found in Ohio waters to any great extent, with the exception of a few individuals over the last decade.
Grass carp can be stocked in Ohio, but they must be triploid fish from certified, permitted sellers. These altered fish cannot reproduce. They are used in private ponds to control vegetation. Grass carp can be a problem when diploid fish escape into natural systems and destroy habitats.
You can help biologists track the movement of invasive carp by learning to identify them and reporting any sightings or captures.
- Identifying Bighead and Silver Carp in the Ohio River Basin [pdf]
- Identifying Bighead and Silver Carp from local baitfish [pdf]
- 2021-2030 Invasive Carp Tactical Plan [pdf]
- Invasive Carp Response Guidelines [pdf]
- Invasive Carp Regional Coordinating Committee
- Environmental DNR (eDNA) to track invasive carp
- Lake Erie Grass Carp Response Strategy: 2019-2023 [pdf]