- Associated Press - Thursday, July 16, 2015

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Recent flooding of the Mississippi River has caused numerous fish like Asian carp to take a long turn off into the River des Peres, which serves as a drainage path for the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District.

A few curious joggers, cyclists and pedestrians, peering down from bridges along the River des Peres Greenway, noticed the carp swimming below, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1K961kq ) reported in a story published Thursday. Rebecca Blue said the river usually looks like “dirt” and that it was odd to see a fish in there.

The Mississippi River is expected to drop below flood stage on Friday. As the water level recedes, so will all the bloated tributaries that scientists say serve as ideal refuges for Asian carp, an invasive fish species, likely trapping them there unless they decide to leave. The fish eat microscopic bugs and plants that grow well in the nitrogen-rich waters abutting the Mississippi River.

In 2011, hundreds of the fish had died in lingering floodwater in the River des Peres, which saw its oxygen levels drop to unsustainable levels.

“The positive side is these are the same highly undesirable invasive species that hit people in boats and wreak havoc in our natural aquatic systems,” Missouri Department of Conservation spokesman Dan Zarlenga said then.

Kevin Irons studies Asian carp as Aquatic Nuisance Species Manager for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Other types of fish often end up in the mix of receding floodwater, but Asian carp - bighead and silver carp - are usually the last to linger, according to Irons.

“The big heads and the silvers will stay there as long as there is an advantage,” he said.

The River des Peres essentially runs the line between St. Louis and south St. Louis County from Shrewsbury to the Lemay area. It serves as an overflow for storm water and sewage whenever heavy rainfall occurs.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com

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