The invasion of goldfish threatens Colorado Lake’s ecosystem

colorado lake

Natural regulatory mechanisms control the balance of ecosystems, including limiting the over breeding of various populations. However, human intervention has resulted in a reduction and elimination of certain species and uncontrolled growth of others. This time, Colorado’s aquatic wildlife is endangered by the spread of goldfish in a Boulder lake.

According to wildlife officials, the invasion started about two years ago when someone got rid of his four to five pet goldfish in the Teller Lake #5. Goldfish are not a native specie to the lake and they put native fish, such as channel catfish, blue gill fish, and sun fish, in risk by eating their food and dominating the rivers because of their increasing population.

Jennifer Churchill, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) spokeswoman, highlighted the dangers of human intervention to the environment.

“Dumping your pets into a lake could bring diseases to native animals and plants as well as out-compete them for resources”.

“Everything can be affected. Non-native species can potentially wipe out the fishery as we’ve put it together.”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is collaborating with Boulder County to deal with the problem. Firstly, they are trying to find a way to remove the overpopulation of goldfish, which multiplied to over 3,000 to 4,000 fish. CPW officials currently consider two solutions — electro shocking the fish or draining the lake. The first solution sounds better as electro shocking the goldfish would not kill them. They will collect and take them to raptor rehabilitation center, where the fish will be used for feeding. The other benefit is that not only won’t they spend money to drain the lake, but the lake’s ecosystem will survive, as well.

A few volunteers have been interested in collecting the goldfish to keep them as pets, but Churchill doesn’t want to encourage this practice. Even though it seems tempting to release or collect animals from their natural ecosystem, everyone must consider the impact in the environment and the consequences the population would have to deal with for many years to come.

For comments and suggestions, leave a message in the comments section below. Like and Follow our Facebook page for more stories and to stay up-to-date with the latest happenings.

About the author

Irini Chassioti is a teacher and chemist with a master’s degree in Environmental Chemistry and Technology. She was born and raised in the northern suburbs of Athens and is an active member of the local city improvement association. Her activities include the protection of the local ecosystem, writing scientific articles related to environment, ecology and sustainable development and the education of pupils on environmental issues.