Outdoors notebook: Invasive carp spawning in Lake Erie tributary

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The carp are coming. Last week scientists said they have documented for the first time that a species of invasive Asian carp has successfully reproduced within the Great Lakes watershed. The announcement was considered a ominous development in the struggle to keep the hungry invaders out of the Great Lakes, where they could pose a serious threat to native fish.

An analysis of four grass carp captured last year in Ohio's Sandusky River, a Lake Erie tributary, found the fish had spent their entire lives there and were not introduced through other means, according to researchers with the U.S. Geological Surfvey and Bowling Green State University.

Grass carp are among four species imported from Asia decades ago to control algae and excess plants in sewage treatment lagoons and inland commercial fish farms. The carp escaped during a flood and spread into the Mississippi and other rivers and lakes across the nation's heartland. They have been reported in the Ohio River as far north as Ohio.

Turkey time

Before you pull down that camouflaged hat, remember that fall turkey season length has changed in nine Wildlife Management Units. The season opened yesterday in most of the state with the following exceptions: WMU 5A, a three-day season begins Nov. 5. WMUs 5B, 5C and 5D remain closed to fall turkey hunting.

Fall turkey seasons: WMU 1B, Nov. 2-9 and Nov. 28-30; 2B (shotgun and archery only), Nov. 2-22 and Nov. 28-30; 1A, 2A, 2D, 2F, 2G and 2H, Nov. 2-16 and Nov. 28-30; 2C, 2E, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D and 4E, Nov. 2-22 and Nov. 28-30; 5A, Nov. 5-7. The changes are part of an experiment to chart the effectiveness of managing the wild turkey population by manipulating the fall hunting season.

Austen update

Former executive director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Doug Austen has a new job. He was recently tapped as executive director of the American Fisheries Society, one of the world's largest and oldest organizations of professional fish and fishery scientists and managers. Austen will work with AFS staff, its governing board and global partners to improve the conservation and sustainability of fishery resources and aquatic ecosystems. Austen is also secretary-general of the World Council of Fisheries Societies.

With degrees in fisheries science from South Dakota State University, Virginia Tech and Iowa State University, Austen worked for the Illinois Natural History Survey and Illinois Department of Natural Resources before serving as executive director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission from 2004 to 2009. Since then Austen has headed a conservation project for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Trap shoot

Library Sportsmen's Association in Findleyville will hold its Fun Shoot trap games today. Call 724-942-3535 for details.

Officer promoted

Fish and Boat Waterways Conservation Officer John Hopkins has been promoted to sergeant in the agency's southwest region office in Somerset. Hopkins previously covered Indiana and East Armstrong counties. A native of Clymer, Pa., Indiana County, he has been a WCO since 2007.

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