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L.I. Town Using Non-Native Fish To Combat Invasive Algae Species

Residents Mixed On Stocking Pond With Grass-Eating Carp

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HUNTINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A community on Long Island is turning to a specific type of fish to try to rid a local pond of an invasive algae called hornwort.

As CBS 2′s Jennifer McLogan reported from Heckscher Park in Huntington, the grass-eating carp are small now, but can grow to almost 4 feet long and weigh more than 40 pounds.

Hornwort is a nuisance plant that has literally taken over the popular family park in Huntington, McLogan reported Wednesday.

“The invasive weeds are in here and they started to expand and expand and expand,” Ron Lange of the Heckscher Model Yacht Club told McLogan.

Hornwart is a thick underwater destructive sea plant that grass carp have a voracious appetite for.

The fish can eat up to three times their body weight of the submerged terrestrial vegetation.

The community began looking into grass carp when the model yacht club complained. Its boats were getting stuck, turtles were having trouble and ducklings in the pond were seemingly glued to the hornwart.

The Huntington town supervisor called- it a natural solution.

“The carp will not eat the other fish that are in the pond. They basically are vegetarians,” Frank Petrone told McLogan.

The town got permits from the state Department of Conservation. Because grass carp are non-native, the DEC required the fish to be sterilized and a fence be installed so they won’t spread.

“We all love to come down here and enjoy the park, so if it was overrun by algae, I just think that wouldn’t be so great,” Huntington resident Theresa Calobrisi told McLogan.

But not everyone wants to fool with Mother Nature.

“After the grass carp have eaten up all the vegetation, what are they going to eat next?” said resident Frank Kavanagh.

The town stocked 36 grass carp in the pond, 10 per acre of water.

Each fish is expected to have a life span of five to nine years. The model yacht club will help chart the progress of the carp.

The state said several other towns are applying for grass carp permits to stock problem ponds.

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