MOSES LAKE - Grant County Conservation District’s carp removal project on Moses Lake proved to be far more effective than initially thought.
In early May, a commercial fisherman was hired to remove up to 1,500 pounds of carp from the lake. The effort aimed to remove a large portion of the fish which are thought to be a contributor to the lake’s annual toxic algae blooms. Scientists say the carp are responsible for stirring up the phosphorus sediment in the lake which is a key contributor to the toxic algae blooms.
On May 6, a commercial netter placed nets at locations near Connelly Park and continued to harvest fish until May 10. Elliot DeLong of the conservation district says the project was expected to harvest 1,500 pounds of fish, but the end result was 13,000 pounds of caught carp which equates to 6.5 tons. Additionally, 72 pounds of phosphorus directly connected to the carp biomass leaving the lake was removed as well.
“As phosphorus is a key nutrient to algae growth, removing 72 pounds is significant and perhaps even larger as an indeterminate amount of phosphorus will remain undisturbed by preventing these carp from spawning. While this represents only a small fraction of the total carp population it provides an estimate of the number of carp within Moses Lake and valuable data necessary for developing a comprehensive Lake management plan,” said DeLong.
However, DeLong says carp removal is beneficial, but it won’t solve the nutrient issues occurring in Moses Lake. DeLong says there’s no single solution to fixing Moses Lake water quality issues, but piecing together all nutrient sources entering the lake is a necessary process in developing a comprehensive watershed and management plan for Moses Lake.