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  • Writer's pictureJo at Pond Elegance

Sterile Grass Carp

Let's talk about Sterile Grass Carp. This is an important educational post. For those of you in our pond family who have natural retention canals, ponds, and lakes, do you know about Sterile Grass Carp? They are an organic, natural weed control. If you have a 1/2 acre to 5 acres of water a group of 3-5 grass carp will eat away at the plants threatening to take over the surface of your water. Many of these bodies of water can get infected with weeds. Some of the invasive culprits include Dollar Weed, Water Lettuce, Water Hyacinth, Hydrilla, Fanwort, and Giant Salvina among others. These plants are not native to our local waters. They spread vigorously and can cover a water surface in less than a year. They compete for habitat and replace our native water plants, killing off habitats for turtles, butterflies, bees, and other reptiles and insects. They strip oxygen from the water and when they cover the surface of water completely, they suffocate the fish that lie in the water underneath. The OTA reports that the US spends $100 million a year fighting 4,500 invasive aquatic plant species. The average family will spend $500-$1000 a year (per water acre!) and several hours a day in the spring to spray harmful pesticides to kill the plants and then wading in to physically remove barrels of plants by hand every spring.

Normally, we would never advocate introducing a non-native fish species into any body of water. However, we have access to a Grass Carp that has been genetically altered to be unable to breed. That means that you can introduce 2-5 grass carp into your water, and they will happily munch away on only the plants for 6 or 7 years and then die naturally. They are sterile and can't reproduce, which means they can't multiply and compete with your other fish already in the lake for food. It's a safe, painless way to control for invasive water plants that is responsible. Each fish is $29 and is 8-10 inches, big enough that the other fish won't eat them. Release your carp in a plant-infested area and watch the change happen. It's cheaper, safer for the water and other fish, and lasts longer than herbicides. Your costs equal about $5 a year for each Grass Carp. It's a 3 hour trip for us to drive to the supplier for these grass carp and we only go once a year so we need anyone who is interested to sign up ahead of time.

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