MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. - A two-week operation to remove Asian Carp from Creve Coeur Lake begins Monday (Jan. 29). The experimental effort aims to clear the lake of as much as 90 percent of the invasive species.
Dan Zarlenga with the Missouri Department of Conservation said Asian Carp found their way to Creve Coeur Lake through flooding events from the Missouri River. According to Zarlenga, Asian Carp may get up to 50 pounds and reproduce quickly which has hurt fishing and the aquatic eco-system at the lake.
Asian Carp may also pose a safety hazard. Zarlenga said the large fish have a tendency to jump out of the water and could be a danger to kayakers or stand up paddle boarders.
Over the next two weeks, visitors to the lake may see up to a dozen boats at a time out on the water removing the non-native fish. The lake and parts of the trail around the lake will be closed to the public during that time.
Beginning Monday, biologists will divide the lake into cells using nets then use acoustic sound and electricity to drive the fish from each area. As each cell is cleared, biologists will use nets to prevent the fish from re-entering that area.
Once the fish have been confined to one area, biologists will sort the fish. Native fish will be returned to the lake and Asian Carp will be removed. The fish will be disposed of in a landfill.
Zarlenga said it is hard to predict how many Asian Carp are in the lake, but the team could be removing thousands of fish through this effort. The process is expected to take about two weeks to complete.