LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas will receive a share of the nearly $14 million being distributed in 2020 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to states in the Mississippi River Valley to better manage and study Asian carp.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has been working for the past several months to receive some of the grant money, according to Bill Posey, Fisheries Division assistant chief over Aquatic Wildlife Diversity Programs, and USFWS is passing along $635,759 to the agency as of Oct. 1. At the September AGFC commissioner’s meeting last week, Commissioner Joe Morgan announced that his budget committee had approved a minute order moving that money to the Fisheries Division for Asian carp research, with the USFWS’s grant reimbursing the amount.
“This is a new pot of money put into the U.S. Fish and Wildlife budget by Congress in the past year specifically for managing Asian carp,” Ben Batten, AGFC Fisheries chief, said. “There are 28 states in the middle of the country affected by this and we were all dealing with (USFWS) for a grant. We have been researching Asian carp and how we manage it, but all of a sudden we have a lot more money for it thanks to this federal grant.”
Total money allocated to the sub-basins that include Arkansas was $2.3 million. The entire congressional appropriation to the USFWS was $25 million, with $13.92 million going to areas outside the Great Lakes region.
Posey said the AGFC receives an appropriation of $86,000 a year from USFWS to implement its Aquatic Nuisance Species plan, which was approved in 2013. Asian carp is only a part of that plan, with such invasive nuisance species as the northern snakehead also getting the agency’s attention.
There are four species of Asian carp in Arkansas: silver,