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Game Commission tackling invasive carp problem at Middle Creek

Since June, the Game Commission has been conducting weekly trappings to lower the numbers of invasive carp in the lake.

LEBANON COUNTY, Pa. — Invasive carp are stirring up trouble at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is on a mission to eradicate non-native, invasive carp from the lake, which spans Lebanon and Lancaster Counties.

“Not sure when they were introduced here but they eat a lot of the vegetation we try to grow for waterfowl," said Steve Ferreri, the Pennsylvania Game Commission's land management supervisor for the southeast region of the state. "The problem has been getting worse and worse, year after year.”

This year, the Game Commission is trying something new.

A crew was out bright and early Wednesday, clearing out traps they set up overnight.

“We bait the carp in with cracked corn, then there’s counterweights that lift the sides of the nets up," explained Ferreri.

Any other fish or amphibians that are caught in the traps get thrown back in the water, while the carp are corralled.

“We scoop them out and put them in an euthanizing solution which quickly and humanely euthanizes the fish and the fish get donated to a farmer for compost," said Ferreri.

413 carp were caught on Wednesday, bringing the total number of fish caught this summer to 2,642.

The Game Commission will conduct weekly trappings through September then pick back up again next year.

If they don’t help get the carp down to a manageable level, Ferreri said the Game Commission may have to consider more extreme measures.

“If we can’t fix the carp issue by just doing catches like this, there’s a good chance we may have to do a complete drawdown of the lake and hit the reset button," he explained.

They’ll give the trappings another year or two to make a difference and go from there.

“Why should somebody care? We’re stewards of the land and we need to promote native flora and fauna, so that’s the main reason we’re out there," Ferreri said.

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