Carp control: Fish and Wildlife will kill carp in pond to restor - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Carp control: Fish and Wildlife will kill carp in pond to restore ecological balance

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PATERSON, WA - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service initiated a carp control project this morning at Whitcomb Island near Paterson, killing thousands of carp but improving the area for birds, waterfowl, insects, and other wildlife.

They're using a chemical called rotenone to kill the carp, spraying down the pond's 75 acres today.

Reporter Rex Carlin was down at the pond near Paterson today and learned that they decided to do this to figuratively hit the reset button for the pond due to its current lack of wildlife activity. This is because the carp that have invaded the pond now number into the thousands.

Wildlife officials say the carp eat the vegetation at the bottom of the pond so quickly that the sediment can't settle at the bottom, which blocks out the sunlight.

No sunlight means the vegetation at the bottom of the pond can't regrow.

With no carp around, more vegetation will provide food for waterfowl, and the vegetation helps clean and put oxygen back into the water, which will attract aquatic insects back into the area. This strengthens the ecosystem because the wildlife that eats those insects will also return to the area...something U.S. Fish and Wildlife employees say simply can't happen with all those carp around.

"Other wildlife, waterfowl in particular, eat both the plants that are in the water and the insects that live on those plants," said U.S. Fish and Wildlife employee Lamont Glass. "So when you have a lot of carp and they eat all the plants, then you don't have any of those food resources for your waterfowl."

U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials say the length of time the rotenone will be in the water depends on temperatures: the colder it is, the longer it will take the pond to return to normal, but they estimate the process taking somewhere around three days.

Glass emphasized that there are multitudes of carp in the Columbia, so killing the ones in the pond will have little to no impact on the local carp population as a whole.