Asian carp in the Tennessee River system
August 2019 - July 2021
- Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks
Bigheaded carps have been expanding through the Tennessee River and are now relatively common in Kentucky Lake but also occur in Pickwick Lake and as far upstream as Wheeler Lake. The Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, connected to Pickwick Lake, is the newest concern regarding the invasion of the bigheaded carps. If they enter the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway they could access various river systems that drain into the Gulf of Mexico. Colonization by bigheaded carps presents an imminent threat to these aquatic systems as they could be detrimental to native fish assemblages. The objectives of this study include investigating if bigheaded carps have expanded into Bay Springs Lake at the start of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway; determine whether seasonal water level patterns encourage movement of bigheaded carps; and test whether there have been changes in the fish assemblages of Kentucky and Pickwick lakes that could be attributed to the expansion of bigheaded carps.