Alberta Environment and Parks will not be pumping water into Gull Lake until it can be determined that no invasive fish will be introduced by doing so. File photo

Alberta Environment and Parks will not be pumping water into Gull Lake until it can be determined that no invasive fish will be introduced by doing so. File photo

Options considered to deal with Prussian carp at Gull Lake inlet

AEP ruling out pumping until risks and potential solutions are investigated

There are no invasive Prussian Carp in Gull Lake and the hope is to keep it that way.

Scott Lundy, the assistant director of external communications for Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP), explained the situation in an interview with the Ponoka News.

“AEP is aware of the presence of Prussian carp in the Blindman River, and recognizes the significant risk this invasive species poses to aquatic ecosystems,” he said.

“Prussian carp of varying sizes were found in the pump station inlet channel in 2017, which is directly connected to the Blindman River.”

Lundy added that a netting survey done on Gull Lake in the fall of 2017 found the lake free of the invasive species.

He also confirmed that a large number of Prussian carp were collected from the inlet channel when a fish salvage was done that fall. This was part of a construction project on the inlet. The majority of the carp were around three centimetres long.

“AEP has kept municipalities surrounding Gull Lake informed of the Prussian carp issue and the potential implications for pumping operations, via the Gull Lake Stabilization Committee,” he stated.

“The ministry is currently determining whether or not future pumping will occur from its Blindman River pump station into Gull Lake.”

The pumping station is owned and operated by AEP in order to stabilize Gull Lake water levels, but Lundy noted there has been no pumping done since 2011 as the level to trigger pumping has not been reached.

The stabilization committee and lake residents want pumping to take place — with residents urging the province to bump up not only the trigger level, but also the normal level of the lake.

However, according to Lundy, there won’t be any changes made in the management of lake levels for the foreseeable future.

“There will be no pumping this year, as the water level is not at the trigger level and run-off into Gull Lake is anticipated to keep it above that level well through the summer,” he explained.

“And, AEP has been in touch with the Gull Lake Watershed Society to let them know that changes to pumping trigger levels will not be considered at this time due to the risks associated with the presence of Prussian carp in the Blindman River.”

Lundy added AEP is analyzing a number of engineering solutions to eliminate the risk of Prussian Carp entering the pumping system and into Gull Lake.

“We will weigh these options and the associated risks before making a decision on future pumping operations,” he said.

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