Press Release May 14, 2024

Stop Carp Coalition Celebrates $12 M Investment for Protecting Minnesota Waterways, National Parks

"We now have new tools to fight these invaders, and we’re thrilled to see the state step up with funding to help keep them out." -- NPCA's Christine Goepfert

Saint Paul, Minn. – Today, the Minnesota Legislature approved $12 million to fund an invasive carp deterrent system at Lock and Dam 5 on the Mississippi River just upstream of Winona, Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will receive the funding in partnership with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the United States Geological Survey. The funding is an appropriation from the Outdoor Heritage Fund and part of Minnesota’s Legacy Omnibus bill.

The Stop Carp Coalition – a diverse group of sportsmen, environmental organizations and landowners – have advocated for interventions to protect the state’s prized waterways and national parks, beginning with the successful closure of Upper St. Anthony Falls lock on the Mississippi River in 2014. Since then, the coalition has led advocacy efforts to promote a layered approach including helping to advance research, strengthen state policies and identify new tools to fight the invasive carp threat.

“We’re proud to have led this effort to protect Minnesota’s treasured waters using the latest scientific advancements in invasive carp prevention,” said Colleen O’Connor Toberman, Land use and Planning Director at Friends of the Mississippi River and co-chair of the Stop Carp Coalition. “Now time is of the essence. We look forward to working with our state and federal agencies to implement this deterrent as quickly as possible.”

The deterrent proposal is based on a state-funded feasibility study by Dr. Peter Sorensen at the University of Minnesota. After assessing all of Minnesota’s locks and dams, Sorensen found that Lock and Dam 5 will be highly effective with the addition of a deterrent system and ongoing integrated pest management tactics such as carp tracking and removal.

"Without a carp deterrent, the native fish and river ecosystem did not have a chance; now they most definitely do,” said Dr. Peter Sorensen, Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota. “No other state has taken significant action before it was too late. Minnesotans should be proud.”

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has caught over 500 invasive silver and bighead carp in the Mississippi River pools immediately downstream of Lock and Dam 5 since March 2023. Invasive carp are not yet known to be reproducing in Minnesota, leaving a limited but feasible window of time for a deterrent to be installed to achieve maximum efficacy.

“It’s been over 10 years since we sounded the alarm on the threat invasive carp pose to our prized waterways and fisheries,” said Christine Goepfert, Midwest Campaign Director for the National Parks Conservation Association and co-Chair of the Stop Carp Coalition. “We now have new tools to fight these invaders, and we’re thrilled to see the state step up with funding to help keep them out. A physical deterrent is just one of many in our multi-pronged approach for stopping carp from invading waters that flow through our nearby national parks, including the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area and the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. As long-time co-chair of the Stop Carp Coalition, NPCA is committed to working with partners, agencies and state leaders to advance strategies that protect Minnesota’s waterways.”

Stop Carp Coalition member quotes:

“This bill is a huge step towards protecting Minnesota waters from the spread of invasive carp. This new deterrent will help provide an extra layer of defense against invasive carp swimming into the Minnesota and St. Croix Rivers and further protect the native fishery, outdoor recreation opportunities and the communities that rely upon these waters for their quality of life.” - Marc Smith, Policy Director, National Wildlife Federation

“Outdoor recreation, local economies, and native ecosystems are all at risk due to the threat of invasive silver, grass, and bighead carp expanding their reach further into Minnesota. Dodging jumping carp in an attempt to fish, hunt, or paddle is no way to spend a day enjoying some of our state’s finest waterways. A carp barrier at Lock and Dam 5 is a huge step in ensuring we conserve the opportunity for future generations to enjoy waters free of invasive carp. “ - Brad Gausman, Executive Director, Minnesota Conservation Federation


About the National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.6 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit

Stop Carp Coalition members include: National Parks Conservation Association (co-chair), Friends of the Mississippi River (co-chair), National Wildlife Federation, Wild Rivers Conservancy, Midwest Marina Association, Mississippi Park Connection, MN Conservation Federation, MN Division – Izaak Walton League, Conservation Minnesota, Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance, Native Fish for Tomorrow, Minnesota Trout Unlimited, FM Walleyes Unlimited, Inc., Fishing For All LLC, MN-FISH, Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates, Friends of Pool 2