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Managing Invasive Common Carp to Improve Water Quality: Johanna Creek Common Carp Barrier

RCWD continues to explore the expansion of its common carp management program to reduce the number of carp in the Long Lake – Lino Lakes Chain of Lakes system. Common carp are a widespread problem in RCWD especially the Long Lake and the connected Lino Chain of Lakes. Common carp are known to stir up the sediment on the lake bottom and uproot native plant vegetation, all of which create poor water quality and contribute to creating harmful algae blooms. 

RCWD has a long history of successfully implementing common carp management projects and has a comprehensive carp management program throughout the entire watershed that is underway. The program is multi-faceted, with ongoing monitoring, applied research, and active management.

Project Details: 

The Johanna Creek Carp Barrier is one of the multiple projects within the Long Lake – Lino Chain of Lakes Carp Management Program. This project uses a physical barrier in Johanna Creek in the city of New Brighton to prevent the migration of common carp out of Long Lake through Johanna Creek to the southern parts of the watershed for spawning. 

The barrier creates an opportunity for adult carp removal, as migrating carp swim and stop at the barrier RCWD can then remove those carp.  RCWD plans to remove up to 4,000 lbs. of carp in the first year of operation, eventually reducing overtime as the population is kept in check to a long-term average of around 2,000 lbs. of carp. 

This project utilized the BWSR’s Watershed-Based Implementation Funding (WBIF) program, a component of the State’s Clean Water Fund. This funding was also supported by local funding from RCWD. 

The Goal: 

This project will help achieve the goals set out in the Long Lake / Lino Chain of Lakes Carp Management Plan. Successful implementation of this plan will result in improved water clarity in Long Lake and the entire Lino Chain of Lakes. RCWD expects to achieve MN eutrophication standards for Long and the Lino Chain of Lakes, which means taking the lakes off the MN impaired waters list. The desired program goal is to reduce and maintain the amount of common carp below the ecological damage threshold (~100kg/ha). This means improved water clarity and quality, better recreational value, less harmful algae blooms, and more beneficial native plant vegetation for native fish communities in these water bodies. 

Background in RCWD regarding common carp: Carp removal is just one element of Rice Creek Watershed District’s four-part, $7.3 million Long Lake Targeted Watershed Demonstration Project, a plan to improve water quality in nutrient-impaired Long Lake. A $3 million Targeted Watershed Demonstration Program grant from the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources is in the plan.

WBIF Background in RCWD:
Rice Creek Watershed is a stand-alone “allocation area” for BWSR’s FY22-23 Metro WBIF
$407,796 available to eligible entities & projects. 10% local match required (minimum of $40,780)

Johanna Creek Carp Barrier is 1 of 4 approved projects.