CAIRO — Grady County officials are hoping an influx of fish will solve a persistent weed issue at Tired Creek Lake.
A professor at the University of Georgia recommended that the county use sterilized Ctenopharyngodon idella, or grass carp, to act as a natural weedkiller for the hydrilla which has been spotted in shallow areas of the lake in recent months.
Grass carp, which are native to the freshwater rivers of southeast Asia, are sometimes used in the United States as a form of aquatic weed control. The species is specific to eating hydrilla and generally stay close to their food supplies.
“Carp love hydrilla,” said lake director Mike Binion.
To kill off the weeds, the county plans to eventually deploy more than 9,000 carp, or about 10 fish per acre.
The carp will be emptied directly into heavily-weeded areas of the lake.
Tired Creek Lake is in the early stages of a growing hydrilla problem, County Administrator Buddy Johnson said, and pesticides have not been able to kill the weeds off.
“Unfortunately this particular brand of hydrilla is pretty resilient,” Johnson said.
If left unchecked, county officials warn the hydrilla could overtake the lake bottom within the next six months, making it difficult for fish to flourish or for boaters to traverse.
“It’s one of those things that if you don’t get on top of it it will take your lake over,” Johnson said.
Johnson hypothesized that the hydrilla was brought to Tired Creek Lake by a boat that had been in Lake Seminole, which has been overrun by the plant.
As cooler weather approaches, the spread of the hydrilla is expected to slow down.
“It’ll be a good opportunity for the fish to go in and feast,” Johnson said.
County commissioners voted Tuesday morning to approve an $8,000 purchase of 1,000 carp from a fish farm in Newton, a price of $8 per fish.
Funds for the purchase will comes from unused advertisement money in the county’s lake budget.
A new line item will be created in the budget for the purposes of tracking the expense.
The county will continue adding carp in intervals of 1,000 until they reach 9,900 fish in total.