Natures Pond Managers

“Controlling Invasive Non-Beneficial Aquatic Plants with Triploid Grass Carp”

We are near the end of Summer here in good ole NC and the weeds are thriving! I know for myself I could mow my lawn three times a week and then some. This same issue is happening in aquatic ecosystems throughout the southern states and it happens every time during the spring and summer months with the mild winters not helping the problem. If you have a pond on your property you know exactly what I’m talking about? You got it! Hydrilla, Primrose, Parrots Feather, Duckweed and Watermeal just to name a few species. Some of these noxious non-beneficial plants cannot be eradicated without causing damage to the aquatic ecosystem (ie. Harming the beneficial aquatic plants, fish and wildlife) and controlling some of these plant species is a fight from late March to early October. In todays “We want to be clean and green world” how do biologically control invasive plant species that thrive in our aquatic ecosystems? If nature caused it can nature fight it? Let’s look at Triploid Grass Carp…

In regulated stormwater devices (BMP & SCM) as they are more commonly referred some municipalities do not allow preventatives such as pond dye or colorant and don’t even think about putting certain algaecides and herbicides in what is classed as public city waterways. Hey, I get it we care about our ponds, streams, rivers and lakes! This being said allowing invasive plant species to take over our beloved aquatic ecosystems can be harmful and dangerous to the public and wildlife. Hydrilla (verticillate) can be a beast to swim and kayak through! This aquatic plant can cause damage to boat inboard/outboard motors, jet skis and let’s not forget about our sportsman and anglers losing hundreds of dollars’ worth of fishing lurers. So, can we fight nature with nature? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.

Triploid Grass Carp are a hearty herbivorous species native to eastern Asia. These fish have been used all over the world to help with aquatic vegetation control. They are a very hearty fish and once they have established in your aquatic ecosystem they look like small Navy as they swim to the surface.

Pros:

  • They eat vegetation!
  • If you have a lot of invasive non-beneficial plants, you do not have to invest in fish food.
  • They survive and thrive in most freshwater aquatic ecosystems.
  • Using the Triploid Grass Carp as a biological control can reduce the need and use of herbicides.

Cons:

  • These vegetarians can also eat beneficial vegetation. Aquatic plants can be expensive especially when they are required to be present in regulated stormwater devices.
  • Triploid Grass Carp (Approximately 8 inches in size) have a teenage metabolism for about 5 to 7 years. As they mature their appetite slows down and they eat at much slower intervals.
  • If your pond/lake is completely covered with invasive, non-beneficial aquatic vegetation you will need aquatic treatments performed by professionals (Triangle Pond Management) to get the aquatic ecosystem back under control.
  • These fish target vegetation and not so much different species of algae.

We recently had the opportunity to do a fish stocking with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Division of Water Resources with their Aquatic Weed Specialist Drew Gay. We stocked Triploid Grass Carp in Lake Norman, Lake Benson and Big Lake located in William B. Umstead State Park. Here’s a quick video of our Fisheries Division Manager Cody Schuffler and Drew Gay speaking on the reason and benefits of the fish stocking.

Finally, with everything that’s going on in the world I had the opportunity to stock some of these hearty vegetarians in a pond at Glenaire in Cary, NC. With COVID-19 we hear the stories of people having to work remotely from home with children having to do virtual learning. We forget about our active adult community being shut in with the quarantine. In this next video you’re going to meet Mrs. Roselyn a.k.a. “Roz” who was so excited to receive twelve of these aquatic herbivores that I let her do the honors of stocking the last fish! There’s just something about meeting your neighbors and giving back to the environment.