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CPW removed 14 invasive bighead carp from the Jack B Tomlinson Park (Birdland)

Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Colorado Parks and Wildlife removed 14 invasive bighead carp from the Jack B Tomlinson Park ( [log in for link] ) in Arvada Wednesday. Acting on a tip from the public, CPW aquatic biologists pulled the fish from the pond and checked a neighboring body of water connected by a culvert for the nuisance species. None were found at the second location.

Bighead carp, part of the Asian carp family, are not native to Colorado and negatively impact the overall ecosystem as they are prolific eaters. They feed primarily upon plankton and compete with many native and sport fish species which depend on plankton as a food source.

"Bighead carp are filter feeders and can grow to incredible sizes in both small and large bodies of water," said CPW Invasive Species Program Manager Robert Walters. "Once established, these fish can outcompete native Colorado species for food and resources."

Each of the 14 fish caught at the pond were at least three feet long and the largest weighed 46 pounds. CPW aquatic biologists found the massive carp by using electrofishing methods which emit electricity into the water, stunning fish into a temporary stupor.

The bighead carp were introduced in 1992 as a part of a national study done to examine if the species could be effective in reducing nuisance algal plaguing ponds. The fish were to be removed at the conclusion of the study in 1995, however bighead carp persisted in the waters.

"The size of the bighead carp removed indicates natural reproduction has most likely not taken place, which was the best-case scenario," said Kyle Battige, senior aquatic biologist for the northeast region of CPW.

"This operation all started with a tip from an angler," said Philip Sorensen, CPW District Wildlife Manager for Westminster and Arvada. "We are grateful when the public reaches out to tell us about invasive species in their neighborhoods. We want to know about the presence of invasive species."

CPW will continue to check the pond in the future to ensure the nuisance carp do not remain. Anyone who observes suspicious aquatic species in Colorado waters is encouraged to file a report with CPW.

Photos: CPW
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