OUR VIEW: Trouble lurks in SD watersCarp and aquatic weeds have become a looming problem in eastern and central South Dakota. It was only a matter of time.
By: Editorial board, The Daily Republic
Carp and aquatic weeds have become a looming problem in eastern and central South Dakota. It was only a matter of time.
Asian carp have been creeping northward for years. Introduced into southern United States fish farms years ago, they have been inching upstream in rivers like the Mississippi, Missouri and the James.
Once they have infested a lake, stream or watershed, they’re here for good.
What’s wrong with Asian carp? For one, they are muck-stirrers that crowd out game fish. They also have a habit of jumping when startled, and most folks have heard by now of these large fish leaping into boats and either injuring humans or scaring the living daylights out of them.
Asian carp are knocking on Lake Mitchell’s door. They have been found in Firesteel Creek, below the dam that forms the lake.
To combat the spread of Asian carp, the state Department of Game, Fish and Parks has proposed closing Firesteel Creek below Lake Mitchell to the practice of taking baitfish. Some people who seek baitfish may not be aware they are netting young Asian carp, and then they unwittingly may transfer the carp to other waters that aren’t yet infested with the miserable beast.
We think closing Firesteel Creek to baitfishing is a wise choice. A similar rule already is in place on the James River.
Meanwhile, we see that curly pondweed — a nuisance water plant — has been found in Lake Mitchell. This plant is detrimental to boating and also other aquatic life. It probably was brought into Lake Mitchell by a boater who didn’t realize he was transporting the vegetation on a boat or trailer.
The plant was identified and removed from the lake, and that may have taken care of the problem. Or maybe not. Only time will tell.
The best defense against transporting weeds between lakes and rivers is to thoroughly wash boats and trailers after their use and before going to a new waterway. This is important.
When it comes to noxious weeds and obnoxious fishes, we remind readers that humans are adding to the trouble by playing the unwitting role of transporters.
Fixing the problem will take better education and more, and newer, laws