Grass Carp Now Stocked in Yuma Main Canal

Grass Carp Now Stocked in Yuma Main Canal

Since 1990, the Association has stocked the White Amur fish, a Chinese grass carp, in it’s Arizona canals, laterals, and drains for the purpose of weed control. The fish is native to China, but was introduced to the United States to combat aquatic vegetation that significantly reduces flow and capacity within open-channel water delivery systems. The fish are triploid, which makes them unable to reproduce naturally, and must be restocked periodically. These fish are a proud part of our work force, eating up to three times their body weight in vegetation every single day.

Protective screen that prevents fish from exiting our system and entering into the Colorado River at the California Wasteway

Crews from Imperial Irrigation District begin to unload fish at the tailrace of Siphon Drop Power Plant

Over the past three years, the Association has gone to great lengths to prepare our California operations for stocking with these grass carp. As part of the permitting process, we must ensure that there is never a chance for a fish to leave our system and ultimately end up in the Colorado River. Doing such would be against the California Department of Game and Fish regulations. To prevent such an occurrence, we have installed a tightly-sealed system of bar screens to the only outlet of our system that can lead to the river. After passing an inspection by the permitting authority, we ordered our fish from the Imperial Irrigation District hatchery. A total of 750 fish, tagged with radio frequency identification tags, were placed  into the Yuma Main Canal  on October 2, 2013.

YCWUA Manager Tom Davis (second from left) inspects the first fish to enter our California Distribution system

The fish are slightly stunned to reduce trauma from transportation. Upon being placed into the canal, the fish return to normal function and swim off to their new habitat.

We ordered our White Amur is different sizes, as demonstrated here.

The work these fish will save the Association in perpetuity is beyond measure, but based on our maintenance load to mechanically remove this vegetation every three weeks, it’s anticipated the cost savings will top the $100,000 mark each year. As a friendly reminder to all of our fisherman friends, catching White Amur is illegal in both California and Arizona. If you accidentally happen to land one, please release the fish back into the canal immediately.

 

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