Be Glad It’s Not in Minnesota: Colorado Draining Lake Due to Invasive Fish
Could this happen in Minnesota? Officials in Colorado are draining a lake to get rid of invasive fish that have been found in the water.
Lakes and rivers have been drawn down here in Minnesota
Anytime I see a story about any body of water that's being drained, it catches my attention. For instance, right now, Rochester's own Silver Lake isn't being drained necessarily, but it IS being drawn down because of the massive redo of North Broadway between the lake and Civic Center Drive.
Similarly, Lake Zumbro had been drawn down a few years ago starting in 2018 to facilitate a massive dredging restoration project. Heck, even the mighty Zumbro River in downtown Rochester has been drawn down through the years for various dredging projects, as well.
But here in Minnesota, where we're the Land of 10,000 Lakes, I've never heard of an entire LAKE being not just drawn down, but drained entirely. But that's what they're doing to one lake located out in western Colorado right now. And it's because they're getting rid of an invasive species of fish.
In Colorado, they actually draining an entire lake
According to this CBS-Denver story, the draining of the Mesa Park Reservoir near Grand Junction, Colorado is happening right now because invasive northern pike were found in the water. And that's not good for other native fish.
The story says that officials with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (Colorado's version of our Department of Natural Resources here in Minnesota) said "Northern pike are a voracious predator that cannot be managed in Mack Mesa," and so they're draining the lake to a level low enough that all other fish can be caught and transferred to another nearby lake.
After making sure all the invasive pike (which officials believe someone illegally transported and released into the lake) are gone, officials will refill the reservoir (which, like many of our lakes here in Olmsted County is manmade) and will then restock it with native fish, like trout, largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, and channel catfish. The story said they hope to have everything done and available to fish again by May.
Would Minnesota ever drain an entire lake?
Could the same thing happen here in Minnesota? I'm guessing probably not, because draining one of our 10,000 naturally occurring lakes doesn't seem feasible (even when there are invasive fish found in them-- like last fall when someone released pet goldfish into this Minnesota lake.)
Luckily, Minnesota has a ton of lakes and parks we can enjoy that aren't being drained. And, this Saturday (April 24) you'll be able to check them out for free, during the DNR's Free Park Day. Keep scrolling to check out the 6 state parks closest to Rochester!