Friday, June 22, 2012

Dorsal Fins, Voracious Eaters and Helping the Environment

At this time of year it’s not uncommon to see all kinds of wildlife on the golf course. The lake at #5 green has one of the more interesting inhabitants, grass-eating carp. These herbivorous fish help to control the aquatic weed growth by spending their summer days happily consuming pounds and pounds of filamentous algae, and pondweed. This helps to reduce the need to use chemical controls for the weed growth, thereby allowing us to manage the property in a more environmentally friendly manner.

The lake also has plenty of catfish and bass, but the carp stand out due to their size, and how close they swim to the surface.  The carp can grow to four feet in length and weigh up to 40 pounds.  You can often see their dorsal fins and tails breaking the surface of the water.

While the carp are definitely wildlife, they are not native to these waters, and were originally brought to the United States from China.  Because of their voracious appetites, there would be concern if these fish were released into the wild and allowed to reproduce.  By consuming so much vegetation, they could significantly change the ecosystem, potentially harming native fish and other aquatic animals.  To prevent this, the carp are sterile, and screening is installed on the lake’s discharge piping, to keep them from leaving the lake. 

So if you see a fin sticking out of the water, have no fear that fresh water sharks have invaded our ponds--it’s only the carp, doing what it loves, helping to keep the course and environment in great shape.
The torpedo-shaped Carp

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