Grass carp coming to Kent Pond


[/wide]Grass carp, a type of large fish that eats unwanted overgrowth from ponds, is one of the solutions the Wilton Conservation Commission will use to clean up reeds from Kent Pond, beginning this summer.

“We’ve applied for a permit, it’s still in process,” said Mike Conklin, director of environmental affairs, who hopes to get the fish into the water this summer.

Wilton owns most of the pond, which has become overgrown with reeds. The permit will specify how many fish, their size, their appetite, and how long it should take for them to clean up the pond, Conklin said.

“Grass carp are highly regulated by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. So we’ll have more information in coming weeks or month, hopefully,” Conklin said.

Like Horseshoe Pond neighbors before them, neighbors of Kent Pond had their fill of scum growing on the water and the overgrown condition of the banks. They formed a committee to clean it up and get the town involved.

The group calls itself Friends of Kent Pond.

“When we bought the property 23 years ago, you could walk right out to the water and launch a boat right off the edge of our pond. Now there is a large stand of tall grass growing right out of the pond,” said member Connie Kamedulski earlier this year. “I’d like to see if we could fix all the overgrowth and bring it back. I’m worried over time we won’t have a pond there.”

It’s a significant pond because it feeds into Rock Lake, a local reservoir.

A combination of biological and manual control will be used to manage the invasive plants in Kent Pond, said Jennifer Fanzutti, an environmental analyst for the town, in a recent newsletter.

The fish will be 10 to 12 inches long when they are stocked and will grow to be 24 to 36 inches in maturity.

Grass carp are productive eaters for five to six years before they slow down and restocking is necessary.

The only drawback to the biological control is that the results are not immediate, she said. “We will not see good control of the plants for one to two years,” she said.

To mitigate this, the town is planning to use benthic blankets that can be placed on the bottom of the pond for a month to successfully kill off vegetation.

These blankets can be moved to various locations around the  pond to control plants in smaller areas, she said.

To make a tax-deductible donation to the effort, residents may send a check made payable to Town of Wilton with Friends of Kent Pond in the memo to Department of Environmental Affairs, Wilton Town Hall Annex, 238 Danbury Road, Wilton CT 06897.