Concerns about invasive species, including Prussian carp, in Red Deer’s stormwater ponds highlight the need for cleaning these waterways, council heard.
During Thursday‘s budget deliberations, city manager Craig Curtis said some of the 70 stormwater ponds in the city have never been cleaned. Others haven’t been cleaned in 20 to 40 years, prompting odour complains from nearby residents, as well as sightings of invasive species.
Development services director Kelly Kloss recommended that $150,000 be spent to “lay the groundwork” and start the cleaning of ponds on Ackerman Crescent and Anders Street.
This includes $20,000 for conferring with a consultant who can advise city workers on how to best clean different kinds of stormwater detention ponds.
Goldfish have been seen in these two ponds in Anders — and Coun. Michael Dawe noted the aquarium fish are closely related to Prussian Carp, which have been sighted in other Red Deer detention ponds.
Dawe described carp as highly aggressive and extremely hardy — they can revive themselves even after being frozen.
Carp have caused problems across North America, where they out-compete native fish species and alter aquatic eco-systems.
The concern is that these fish, which were released into stormwater ponds by residents who no longer want to maintain them in backyard ponds, will make their way into Red Deer River, as these are linked waterways, said Kloss.
Coun. Dianne Wyntjes said, “This causes me some angst.”
While Coun. Tanya Handley was opposed to hiring an outside consultant, the rest of council supported the spending.
Coun. Lawrence Lee said since city ponds haven’t been cleaned in decades, the knowledge of how to do it won’t be found among city staff. He supported most of the spending going toward the cleaning effort.