Silver Lake Carp Removal
Why Are Carp Bad for Silver Lake?
The common carp is likely to be the first invasive species in Minnesota. They are harmful to lake ecology because they are bottom feeders: they stir up nutrients that have settled in the lake bed and disturb aquatic plants that are vital to Dissolved Oxygen levels.
In 2013, Saint Anthony initiated a Carp removal project on Silver Lake in conjunction with neighboring Cities and partnering organizations. The project is one of several measures outlined in the Rice Creek Watershed District’s TMDL Report (PDF) of Silver Lake to improve the lake’s water quality. Because Silver Lake is on the State Impaired Waters List, Saint Anthony and surrounding cities have a responsibility to meet the State’s clean water standards. Shoreline restoration, rain gardens, and rain barrels that prevent stormwater contaminants and nutrients from draining into the lake are several other initiatives recommended by the Watershed District.
The seven radio-tagged carp, named after famous characters in television history, were monitored through GIS to predict where carp schooling occurs in the lake. View an Online Map of Carp Locations.
Being an invasive species, the Common Carp drastically alter the ecosystem of the lake. This species is the Common/European Carp Cyprinus carpio, not the Asian Carp that is seen leaping from rivers. Common Carp are a hindrance to the lake's water quality for their chain-reaction effect.
- As bottom feeders, their feeding habits stir up phosphorus, sediment, and other nutrients, keeping them suspended in the water column.
- Suspended nutrients and sediment block light, causing a high algae / low-plant state. Once the temperature is warm enough, mid-summer algae blooms can dominate the lake.
- Common Carp are vigorous feeders, foraging on anything from plants to invertebrates. With sparse plant life, there is little habitat for macro-invertebrates and zooplankton, which native fish need to thrive. The lack of zooplankton also goes back to enable more algae growth (phytoplankton), since zooplankton would prey on the phytoplankton.
- A low plant state in the lake also lacks stability for the lake bottom, keeping the cycle of murky water going.
Saint Anthony is partnering with the Minnesota DNR, Ramsey County Conservation District, Rice Creek Watershed District, Three Rivers Park District, and the cities of New Brighton and Columbia Heights. All entities have contributed to funding the project. Carp expert Anthony Havranek is leading the tagging and bio-assessment components, while commercial fisherman Jeff Riedemann is conducting the netting.
There is no local ordinance against carp bowfishing, but all residents are expected to comply with the MN DNR bowfishing regulations, found on page 64 of the Fishing Regulations Handbook. Bowfishing season is April 25th to the end of February. No carp caught is allowed to return to the water or be left on shore. Contact East Metro Fisheries for questions on carp and fishing. If you will be bow fishing for carp, or if a carp with a tag is harmed, please Email Tony Havranek for ways to assist with the project by keeping records of your catch.
Although the carp project assists the lake’s water improvement, collective community action is the key to substantial, lasting water quality improvements. In order to keep Silver Lake in a clear water state, runoff improvements must be made to keep nutrients, contaminants, and sediment out of the lake. If you live on or near Silver Lake, you have a unique opportunity to join the DNR, the Watershed District, and local Cities in a water quality effort that helps preserve Silver Lake for future generations. Visit our Stormwater Page to see simple actions that can be taken to help the lake, or get connected to a Rice Creek cost-share program.