Invasive Carp, Upper Mississippi River

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District
Published Sept. 12, 2016
Updated: April 15, 2024


Monitor and limit the spread of invasive carp species.


Upper Mississippi River and tributaries.


Bighead and silver carp were introduced to the Mississippi River in the 1970s after wastewater treatment ponds were overcome from flooding on the lower Mississippi River. Left uncontrolled, the invasive carp’s feeding habits starve other species and cause turbidity in the waters where they feed, detrimentally altering the habitat that supports native species. Left unchecked, there is concern that the invasive species will continue to expand further upstream into the upper Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is the federal lead for invasive carp. The USFWS works with the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division which leads coordination for the Corps of Engineers. The USFWS participates in the Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Association’s Asian Carp Advisory Committee, which published a monitoring and response plan in November 2015 to address invasive carp in the Mississippi River basin. The plan includes best practices, sampling, monitoring and response plans, control and removal plans, and coordination and outreach plans.

In Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) conducts controlled fish captures in locations favored by invasive carp and publishes the results in an annual report.

The St. Paul District cooperates with other federal and state agencies to increase awareness of invasive carp behaviors and likely deterrents. The district has permitted the University of Minnesota’s Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (UMAISRC) to conduct flow modeling and field studies on invasive carp swimming capabilities and behaviors at Locks and Dams 1, 2, 4, 5 and 8.

The St. Paul District has permitted installation of an acoustic barrier speaker system and allowed a trial run to modify dam gate operations at Lock and Dam 8 based on research by UMAISRC. Further research by the UMAISRC was performed at Locks and Dams 2, 4 and 5. The St. Paul District is cooperating with the University of Minnesota in its development of a proposal for an acoustic and bubble barrier at Lock and Dam 5 and recently participated in a working group hosted by the MN DNR in Hastings, Minnesota, in September 2023. Any changes to lock and dam operating plans require approval by Corps authorities.

Upper St. Anthony Falls lock, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was closed to navigation in June 2015. The lock closure provides a barrier to upstream movement of invasive carp.


33 U.S.C. Section 408 to permits alterations and modification to existing Corps projects if the proposed action does not adversely impact the project purpose and is not injurious to the public.


Invasive carp related activities are funded out of the Special Investigations program.