Carpenter's Pond (photo by Jason Emerson)
BY Jason Emerson
Gazing into Carpenter’s Pond, one may see an occasional orange or orange-and-white fish swimming idly around. There are certainly not as many of these in the pond as there were one year ago, but the presence of goldfish — and possibly koi — continues in the small body of water, although efforts continue to remove these invasive species from where they do not belong.
The presence of large amounts of goldfish and koi in the pond was brought to public attention last June, and caused concern among various environmental officials for the damage these invasive species could do to the pond’s ecosystem, and the potential danger of them finding their way into Chittenango Creek or Cazenovia Lake and harming those ecosystems.
“We do continue to be concerned with their presence in the pond,” said Thad Yorks, associate professor of environmental biology and biology programs at Cazenovia College.
Yorks, assisted by some of his college students, last year worked to remove the invasive fish from the pond by electrofishing for them from a canoe last summer, and by dragging seines (long nets) through the two corners of the pond closest to the road. Their efforts captured only about 20 fish — all goldfish, no koi — Yorks said. “Goldfish can get a lot bigger than many people think, but not as large as koi, which are actually just fancy carp,” he said.
Yorks said that when the college students return in the fall, they will likely try putting out the same trap-nets they use on Cazenovia Lake and/or gill-nets — two types of net systems that stay out overnight to capture fish “passively” instead of seining or electrofishing which are “active” methods.
Cazenovia Preservation Foundation Conservation Manager Judy Gianforte said her organization, which owns the pond, has been in touch with the DEC and aquatic biologists regarding best management practices for the goldfish and possible koi in Carpenter’s Pond. “This summer, CPF will stock the pond with some bass with the anticipated result of significantly reducing the population of the goldfish,” she said.
It is unknown how the goldfish, and possibly koi, were introduced into Carpenter’s Pond, but the experts agree that someone either got tired of taking care of them in their own pond and dumped them in Carpenter’s, or someone actually bought some fish specifically to “stock” Carpenter’s Pond. Either way, it is illegal to put any fish in a body of water without a DEC permit and documentation that the fish are disease-free. Koi and goldfish are “regulated” fish species that are illegal to put into natural bodies of water.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.