Workers removing carp on Steiger Lake to address water, ecosystem quality

It's a 10-year plan to improve conditions in the SW portion of the Minnehaha Creek watershed

Sloane Martin
September 07, 2018 - 12:17 pm
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A 10-year plan to remove invasive carp from the Lake Minnetonka Headwaters got underway Friday.

On Steiger Lake in Victoria, crews removed four nets, or around 200 eight- to ten-pound carp, with the goal of improving conditions for gamefish and and waterfowl, as well as water quality. It will affect the 14 lakes that drain to Lake Minnetonka.

It's a dirty job for Jordan Wein, general manager of Carp Solutions, who was out in overalls and boots in the water, leaving him speckled with mud, but he expects it to be effective.

"In really small water bodies where you can really take a big dent out of the population, then you can see changeover in the next year," he said.

Carp, which can live a couple decades and grow up to 16 pounds, disrupt the ecosystem through their eating habits at the bottom of lakes by uprooting aquatic plants and stirring up sediment that releases nutrients. The carp management plan also involves aerating lakes during winter to keep carp egg predators alive, like bluegill sunfish, and installing carp barriers. The nets contain corn seeds that attract only carp, so other species won't be affected.

The carp removed Friday are going to the Wildlife Science Center and become food for wolves. The work will continue regularly throughout the fall, and even winter when carp congregate in close-knit schools.

The project is a collaboration, based on a three-year University of Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center study, with the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, Three Rivers Park District, Carver County, the city of Victoria and the rest of the Six Mile Creek-Halsted Bay Subwatershed Partnership. It's funded by a $567,000 grant from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.