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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Aquatic Pet-Dumping Epidemic

LAKE TAHOE —The recent discovery of a strange fish that didn't belong inside Lake Tahoe reminded scientists of a problem they are aware of -- pet-dumping.

Biologists are concerned that the practice could be the reason for the population boom of non-native creatures in Lake Tahoe.

More coverage: Monster goldfish are breeding in Lake Tahoe

The University of Nevada, Reno and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife have already removed 50,000 pounds of fish from the Tahoe Keys in an attempt to reduce the harmful impact on the native fish populations and the lake's clarity.

Wildlife officials are urging visitors to keep an eye out for bad practices around the lake.

Over the Fourth of July weekend, volunteers picked up 2,260 pounds of trash from five sites around the lake. Boat inspectors also have decontaminated 23 boats with invasive species on board.

The fish are taking a foothold in the lake by competing with native fish and transforming the lake's food web.

Other visitors, however, are doing their part to keep the lake healthy.

A 7-year-old boy hiking around Griff Creek noticed a strange foot-long spiny fish lying dead in the creek.

It was brought to the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center, where it was identified as a non-native algae-eating aquarium fish.

The center presumed someone released the fish into the wild.

A researcher said that the center benefits from information regarding the lake's population since scientists are still trying to understand the changing dynamics of the lake.

Last year, goldfish found in the Tahoe Keys were also likely the result of pet-dumping. The goldfish caught in Lake Tahoe had grown to between 7 and 15 inches in length. - KCRA

NOTE: Here in Maryland, the Northern Snakehead, has established a foothold in several rivers and ponds. In the Florida Everglades, pet exotic snakes have become a major problem for native aquatic species...let alone, for the people living in the area. There have been numerous discoveries of Red-Belly Piranha and Pacu in lakes and waterways nationwide. There are literally hundreds of examples of pet aquatic / reptile dumping. As well, there are invasive aquatic species that are the result of poor management and international transport...ex. Asian Carp & Zebra Mussels. Here is a link to the National Invasive Species Information Center...Lon

Invasive Species: What Everyone Needs to Know®

Nonnative Fishes in the Upper Mississippi River System

Invasive Pythons in the United States: Ecology of an Introduced Predator (Wormsloe Foundation Nature Book)

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