We all want to see a picture perfect Utah lake, with crystal deep-blue water, green plants and certainly no algae blooms. The problem is Utah lake really isn't a lake at all, but one of the largest shallow reservoirs in the world - and that is exactly how it is acting.
The lake's ecosystem is out of balance with millions of carp eating everything in sight, leaving nothing for the other native fish and little to no vegetation. We have been told that the conditions are such that "it is carp heaven". They are prolific breeders and too many carp actually change the water quality. (see below)
Part of restoring the lake is correcting the balance in the ecosystem. Some of the fish that used to be native to the Utah lake are now on the endangered list. One of those fish is the June Sucker.
Funded in part by a state grant, the June Sucker Recovery Plan lists, among other things, the removal of enough carp to revitalize the endangered species of fish and allow the lake to re-balance itself with more vegetation and plankton. It also will reduce phosphorus concentrations and improve water quality.
The Division of Natural Resources said that the goal is to remove about 75 percent of the carp and then keep it in balance through a maintenance program. Loy Fisheries have been hired to net and remove an average of 20,000 pounds of carp per day. It is expected this program will continue at this rate for a few more years.
Until we can restore the natural habitat, the June suckers are raised at the Logan fish hatchery. When they get about 8 inches long, they are relocated to the Utah lake.
It is good to know that the program is working. The lake at one time was down to about 100 June suckers and now we have thousands. We are beginning to see more vegetation and better water clarity in those areas.