ODNR efforts for closure are underway

Two surface water pathways in Ohio’s Muskingum River watershed are considered to be medium-risk routes for the spread of aquatic nuisance species (ANS). The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) released the Great Lakes Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS) today that identified Little Killbuck Creek in Medina County and the Ohio Erie Canal at Akron as potential risks for the movement of ANS, including Asian carp.

The study evaluated potential surface water pathways between the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes Basins, which includes the Ohio River and Lake Erie. When a potential surface water pathway was identified by USACE, the ANS transfer risk was determined by the presence and location of the species in the basin and the ability to pass between the two bodies of water.

ANS are defined as plants or animals that invade new areas and have the potential to cause ecological and economic harm. Watershed boundaries typically act as barriers to the movements of ANS to new areas, but potential surface water pathways may facilitate ANS movement between these boundaries.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) recognizes the importance of closing the medium-risk pathways and is actively pursuing options for closure. The potential surface water pathway at Little Killbuck Creek is a low-lying area that is prone to flooding. ODNR is working with the landowner to facilitate a solution to minimize the risk from this pathway.

The Ohio Erie Canal pathway is a complex water system developed in the early 1800s as part of Ohio’s canal system. The complexity of the system requires additional engineering evaluation to determine the appropriate method for closure. ODNR will be working closely with USACE to determine future actions.

ODNR is implementing actions to monitor for Asian carp in waters associated with the Muskingum River pathway. Asian carp have not been documented in the Muskingum River. Evidence has been found of bighead and silver carp in the Ohio River near the Greenup Dam, upriver of Portsmouth, which is more than 300 river miles from these hydraulic connections.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.com.

Logo courtesy Ohio Department of Natural Resources

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