Thousands of Goldfish Invade Minnesota Lake
You might have one in a fishbowl at home, but thousands of these familiar goldfish are causing problems in a lake here in Minnesota.
Goldfish DO belong in Minnesota-- when they're in your tank or fishbowl. Where they don't belong, though, is in any of our 10,000 lakes. But that's what happened in one Minnesota lake, and it's caused the county to take action to get rid of them.
If you're like me, it's strange to think of the common goldfish as an invasive species, but according to Carver County, Minnesota, that's exactly what they are. And when they were discovered in the Grace Chain of Lakes (in the southwest metro, about an hour and a half northwest of Rochester) county officials began a massive project to get rid of them.
The Carver County Goldfish Removal Project officially started in April of 2019, after county employees discovered thousands of goldfish in an inlet to Big Woods Lake in Chaska. "It was the most densely populated discovery of goldfish staff had seen," their website noted. How'd they get there? County officials think they were most likely once someone's pet, who were then illegally dumped in the lake. Goldfish, of course, aren't native to Minnesota lakes-- and can cause big problems for other native fish already in the lake:
Goldfish are related to and share many of the same bad habits as common carp: stirring up sediments, uprooting plants while feeding, and competing with native fish for food and shelter. An invasive species, goldfish can reproduce rapidly and are hardy, surviving the low oxygen conditions in winter where they can live to be 25 years old.
Carver County says that last weekend, crews were out again on the water, trying to remove more of the fish, after capturing and tagging 500 of them for research purposes. Crew members then removed nearly 50,000 goldfish as part of a three-year plan to get the goldfish population under control and restore native fish population to the lake’s ecology-- a process they say will take many years.
And, speaking of lakes, we know that Minnesota has over 10,000 of them. And while they all aren't dealing with an invasion of goldfish, thankfully, some of them have some tricky names to pronounce-- even for native Minnesotans. Keep scrolling to see how many of these lakes YOU know how to say.