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City of Moab Parks Department crews have begun drawing down the water level in the Old City Park pond in preparation for the removal of invasive carp. The City of Moab was approached in December by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) to discuss removing the invasive fish due to its threat to the ecosystem.
Carp are native to Eurasia, but the fish has been widely introduced in the United States, including in many water bodies in and near Moab. Carp cause problems in native ecosystems as they compete with native fish species and also destroy habitat used by native fishes and waterfowl.
The carp in Old City Park pond often feed on ducklings and other small birds, and pose a direct threat to the duck population in the pond, particularly the wood ducks.
Starting March 15, City Parks Department workers began pumping water from the pond into the park to reduce the water level to an appropriate depth so that the DWR biologists can treat the pond with Rotenone as the first step in removing the carp.
Rotenone is a naturally occurring substance derived from the roots of tropical plants in the bean family. In addition to its use in fisheries management, Rotenone is also sometimes used as an organic garden insecticide to control chewing insects. Rotenone is not dangerous to people, pets, birds, or other wildlife, and breaks down naturally into carbon dioxide and water over several days.
The Rotenone treatment is expected to be applied on March 23. DWR and City crews will then remove the carp from the pond. Measures have been put in place to ensure no treated pond water drains into Mill Creek or other bodies of water in the area. Once the Rotenone breaks down, the pond will be refilled. The entire carp removal process is expected to take less than a week.
Later this spring, the City of Moab will partner with DWR to stock the pond with roundtail chub, a fish native to and found only in the Colorado River system. Roundtail chub are included on the Utah Sensitive Species List. The use of the pond for roundtail chub propagation will be part of a broader DWR effort to increase the population of roundtail chub and help avoid the fish being listed under the Endangered Species Act.
Materials and informational signs will be developed and installed at the pond to educate the public about the roundtail chub propagation program and the City and DWR partnership.