Barrier at Lake Bella in Nobles County stops 140 invasive carp
The Minnesota DNR has been notified of a fish kill that included 140 invasive carp below the Lake Bella Dam in Nobles County. This is the largest documented number of invasive carp in one location in Minnesota.
DNR crews followed up on the report to recover the carcasses and take data on the invasive carp. Low oxygen levels due to low water and high temperatures are believed to be the cause of the fish kill.
Lake Bella is about 100 yards from the Iowa border and is connected to the Ocheyedan River, which in turn connects to the Little Sioux and Missouri Rivers in Iowa. Populations of invasive carp have been confirmed in those rivers of the Missouri Basin, south of the Minnesota border, since at least 2011. The DNR routinely collects invasive carp below Lake Bella Dam.
“There is a dam at the Lake Bella outlet that keeps invasive carp out of the lake, and it would take an extraordinary flood event to overtop the structure, so there is currently no concern about these carp moving farther upstream into the reservoir,” DNR Invasive Fish Coordinator Grace Loppnow said.
Invasive carp have been progressing upstream in the Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio river basins since escaping into the Mississippi River in Arkansas in the 1970s. These large fish compete with native species and pose a threat to rivers and lakes. No breeding populations have been detected in Minnesota waters.
The DNR Invasive Species Program has built partnerships with state and federal agencies, conservation groups, university researchers and commercial businesses to prevent the spread of invasive carp.
The DNR is actively engaged with invasive carp prevention efforts in southwest Minnesota.