As anyone who has ever kept it with their goldfish knows, the aquatic plant hornwort (Ceratophyllum submersum) is really tough. It thrives in virtually all conditions, reaching extraordinary growth rates when exposed to intense illumination. And, its rigid, spindly form makes it rather undesirable to herbivorous fish. Hornwort is indeed an aggressive grower, oftentimes edging out competitors and filling every habitable space until an entire shoreline is choked under one solid, tangled mat. Remediation of an ecosystem that has been plagued by hornwort is very difficult, and costly. It takes a special breed of fish and a special breed of man, together, to rise to a challenge such as hornwort.
A few years ago, model yacht enthusiasts from Huntington, NY had finally had enough. They brought a complaint before the local government: overgrown hornwort had all but ruined a beloved pond, Heckscher Park Pond. They also brought a solution: use grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) to eradicate it. The town agreed, obtaining permits from the Department of Environmental Conservation to release the carp. 36 fish (approximately 10 fish/acre) were released in to the 3.6-acre pond. Grass carp can eat 3-10 times their body weight/day. As the fish eat and grow, they will be able to grow and eat even more.
Heckscher Model Yacht Club vice commodore Ron Lange explains how club members have come to see how important resource management is to their craft, noting that they will maintain records of the progress of their eradication project.
More on this story can be found at: