No pumping will be done at Gull Lake to raise the water level, for now.
County CAO Charlie Cutforth and Coun. Doug Weir spoke to council April 10 about the most recent Gull Lake Stabilization committee meeting where it was heard that while Alberta Environment is willing to pump water, it will be holding off as a large amount of invasive Prussian carp — aka goldfish — have been found at the mouth of the inlet channel that flows to the pumping station.
Cutforth added the testing showed at least 1,000 carp near the channel, ranged in size from small fry to some 12 inches long.
“The concern is not being able to screen out the smallest fish. The lake was tested before freeze up last fall and no carp were found in the lake,” he stated.
“These fish can wipe out all of the plants and other fish, so the group doesn’t want to be responsible for possibly contributing to contamination of the lake.”
Another issue Cutforth noted is that some lake residents want the permanent base lake level to be higher than it is now and that they feel the carp issue is not a big deal.
“Apparently, the lake level is more critical and it would be easy to appease those that like to ice fish and turn the pumps on, but how soon will the pressure come when there is no fish to catch other than carp?” he asked.
Reeve Paul McLauchlin was incredulous people would risk Gull Lake by ignoring how invasive these fish can be.
“We are talking about being on the edge of a disaster. If these fish get in, that water body is done,” stated McLauchlin, who by trade is a biologist and an environmental consultant.
“The only way then to get rid of them is to kill the lake and how do you think people are going to feel then about poisoning the lake?”
Cutforth provided council with a brief update on the present state of National Tire Recycling, which purchased the former Cutting Edge site north of Ponoka.
He explained the company was looking at a much larger shredding machine that could potentially process the large mining tires along with the passenger vehicle ones in far less time than is currently possible.
“It was being demonstrated at Leduc County’s landfill and during its trip back to Crossfield, it was going to be shown what it could do at their recycling site,” Cutforth stated.
“It’s called the Terminator and can shred anything. If it works, it might be worthwhile exploring leasing it for a couple weeks for potential use at our landfill for agricultural plastics.”
With a per month lease at $70,000, Cutforth added an option for the county to buy this model at around $750,000 and then lease it to other municipalities or companies be of benefit to the county and pay for itself rather quickly.