Non-native common carp are found in most waterways in Minnesota. That is bad news for water quality. Carp search for food along the lake bottom, stirring up nutrient-rich sediment.
This feeding behavior contributes to muddy water, phosphorus release and algae. Algae growth chokes out native flora and fauna and clouds the water, making it harder for bass, muskies, trout and other native fish that rely on vision to find their food.
The Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District (RWMWD) is collaborating with the cities of Roseville and Shoreview to improve water quality by removing carp from Lake Owasso, Lake Wabasso and Bennett Lake.
Shallow ponds and wetlands often provide safety for carp eggs to hatch. In 2018, RWMWD set PVC barriers at key locations to prevent adult carp from reaching spawning areas. It was successful in removing several hundred carp from these areas. In the years since the watershed district has refined its barrier design and placement, including box netting to capture adult carp in these lake connections, leading to continued success with targeted carp removal. Similar efforts at the Phalen Lake chain has reduced carp density by more than 75 percent.
Residents can also help reduce the number of carp in city lakes. If a person catches a carp, do not return it to the water. Residents also should not release pet goldfish, koi fish or any other non-native fish into the local waterways.
RWMWD is hosting a carp-fishing contest on July 31 from noon to 4:00 p.m. at Lake Owasso County Park, 370 Owasso Blvd. The free, all-ages contest will offer prizes for child and individual categories in shoreline and boat fishing. Everyone is encouraged to take part. Fishing gear will not be provided. Register at rwmwd.org/events.
Learn more about the RWMWD’s efforts to protect water quality at www.rwmwd.org/projects/carp-management-lake-owasso-chain..
DID YOU KNOW?Carp was brought to the United States by European immigrants in the 1870s and were transported throughout the US before their devastating impact on the environment was understood.