New effort aims to control invasive carp in Lake Minnetonka headwaters

Common carp
A researcher holds a common carp caught in Echo Lake near Hutchinson, Minn., in 2006.
Tim Post | MPR News 2006

A new effort to control the invasive common carp will kick off this summer in the headwaters of Lake Minnetonka.

Common carp "grow to be very large and they're very disruptive to lake habitat, primarily due to the way that they feed," said Anna Brown, a project manager with the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District. "As they feed they uproot plants that are growing in the lake sediment. And they stir up the bottom of the lake as well. So they degrade habitat and they release nutrients that feed algae blooms."

Brown said the control effort will include multiple strategies including removing adult carp, installing barriers, and aerating lakes to ensure the winter survival of fish that feed on carp eggs.

The project is part of a 10-year effort to improve water quality and wildlife habitat in the Six Mile Creek-Halsted Bay subwatershed.

"What makes this carp management program so unique is that it is really comprehensive in nature," she said. "It's at a really large scale, and it's all to the benefit of Lake Minnetonka and Halsted Bay."

The watershed district received a $560,000 grant from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council to restore about 2,500 acres of habitat in 14 lakes.

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