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Grass Carp Release Project

Todd Bobowick of Rowledge Pond Aquaculture tosses a net full of triploid carp into Kirk Lake to combat invasive aquatic plants. Photo: Taylor Ligay
Kirk Lake Carp Project: Done!
NOVEMBER 21, 2012  After more than two years of hard work by many, many Kirk Lakers, 490 triploid carp -- 10 per vegetated acre -- were released into Kirk Lake on Tuesday evening, November 20, 2012. 

The "Carp Project," as it's become known, was undertaken to combat the increasing spread of Eurasian Milfoil, a non-native invasive aquatic plant that has increasingly interfered with the health and recreational uses of Kirk Lake.

In the final weeks of October and early November, the project was stopped in its tracks, first by Hurricane Sandy, and later by a Nor'easter that dumped six inches of snow.  Finally, the "carp anti-emigration device" or fish screen, built offsite by Brewster Ironworks, was installed last week. 

Meanwhile, the annual drawdown will commence next week. Thanks to all for their patience with this unusual delay, the result of these weather-related delays. 

Completion of the fish screen allowed KLWA to finalize its order for triploid carp from Rowledge Pond Aquaculture on Friday, November 16. Rowledge Pond's Todd Bobowick immediately ordered a delivery from its supplier in Arkansas. At that point, estimates were that the delivery would be made by Tuesday -- late afternoon or early evening, barring more bad weather or mishaps en route. 

Arriving at about 6 p.m. Tuesday, the actual release was a relatively quick affair. Several KLWA Board members and Kirk Lake residents were on hand to witness the event, as nets full of carp were tossed out into the north end of Kirk Lake off Lillian Road. 

While the carp will remain relatively dormant over the winter, they'll be ready and waiting to feast upon 49 vegetated acres of Eurasian Milfoil in Kirk Lake next Spring!  

If you haven't already, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to KLWA, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation. Send your check to P.O. Box 191, Mahopac Falls, NY 10542. Or pay by credit card or PayPal online here. And thank you!

Click here for a peek at more photos from the carp release.

October 2012 Update
Dear friends and neighbors,
NYS State Completes Permit Review;
KLWA Contributions Needed
        The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has completed its review of KLWA’s permit application to stock sterile grass carp in Kirk Lake. While there are still more hurdles to jump, this step is significant.

            “This is a milestone,” Joe Montuori, KLWA President, said. “We’ve been in contact with the State, writing and calling over several months, urging completion of the permit application. It finally paid off.”

            In accordance with state law, KLWA placed a notice in the Journal News to allow for public comment. That presented the KLWA Board with an unanticipated expense of over $1,500. Board members scrambled to cover it, though it has still left the Association with little cash as 2011 closes.

            This is a good time to make a year-end contribution to KLWA, a not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization.  All contributions are tax deductible as charitable expenses.

            The KLWA budget, now published on the website, indicates a budget of $42,000 for 2012.  That tremendous increase will require a major fundraising drive. The last major hurdle is obtaining another permit -- a Land Use Permit from New York City's Department of Environmental Protection. The land use permit is necessary to install the carp barrier downstream from the dam, and is separate from the NY State permit.

            In the meantime, KLWA needs cash to continue the application process and be prepared for a spring carp stocking. Please send a check in whatever amount you can to Kirk Lake Watershed Association, Inc., P.O. Box 191, Mahopac Falls, NY 10542 or via paypal.



We’ve got some great news to share below. Three years ago our lake community gathered at the Mahopac Library – nearly 100 of us – and agreed to work together to improve the quality of our lake and watershed. While no one anticipated what a difficult prospect we faced, I’m very happy to say that we are in the final stages of reducing the invasive aquatic plants that have plagued our lake for years. This first project is nearly completed.


Everyone’s support (and patience!) have paid off. What’s more, we’re about to start the second project we took on in January 2009 to reduce the algal blooms that interfere with recreational activities and the lake’s health overall.


Our mission to improve the lake’s quality is well on its way, and we’ll now begin to see the results of the work of so many individuals.


As you know, KLWA is a watershed-wide membership organization, run by a board made up of neighbors and friends whom you elected: Eric Birnbaum, Abby Grow, Jane Kartsch, Lynn Ligay, Joe Montuori, Alan Raines, Minia Sas, Pamela Stanley, and Ron Yehuda.  And many other neighbors have also given of their time and money to make this work possible.


Carp Project Nears Completion


Here’s what we’ve accomplished this summer.


·        Consulting with an engineer and welders, we finalized the design of the fish emigration barrier, reducing its original cost by more than $10,000.  We then brought the changes back to NYS DEC and received approval for the new design.


·        Submitted a massive permit application to NYC’s environmental agency, the DEP, and shepherded it through the agency to receive a land use permit for barrier construction in the channel beyond the dam and above Red Mills Park.


·        Shopped for and purchased required liability insurance for KLWA’s responsibility in this project.


·        Sought bids and engaged a welder to construct and install the screen, which is happening as I write this update to you. 


Now here’s the really good news I promised. NYC has approved KLWA’s land use permit to build the “carp emigration device” or fish screen in the rock-lined channel beyond the Kirk Lake dam. That was the last governmental requirement standing between us and completion of the grass carp project to reduce the aquatic vegetation spreading across the lake!

And we’re still hoping to complete the project this season. But time is short.

We’ve contracted with Brewster Iron Works to build and install the fish screen. Once that’s underway, we’ll ask Rowledge Pond Aquaculture of Connecticut to schedule a release of 490 carp (That’s ten fish per acre of invasive plants, the low-end number that the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation approved for our permit.)

We’re hopeful that this will be wrapped up this fall. Obviously, we’ll reach a point past which we would have to wait until the spring thaw. Keep your fingers crossed!



The Lake Management Plan


As promised, we’ve also been working to develop a comprehensive lake management plan. Specifically, we hoped to obtain the services of a lake management graduate student from SUNY Oneonta in upstate New York. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out for this season.

We’ll look into alternative lake management services for next year, though professional limnologists will likely be more expensive, so we’re budgeting accordingly.