Ducks Unlimited Canada and Manitoba Conservation have developed a strategy to keep carp migrating from Lake Manitoba out of Delta Marsh, in order to protect the area at the south end of Lake Manitoba.

Gates have been built to prevent more carp from entering.

“The reason we’re keeping them out of the marsh here in Delta is their activity – meaning their feeding activity disrupts the entire ecology,” said Rick Andrews from Ducks Unlimited Canada.

Carp can weigh as much as 25 pounds (11 kg) and the province estimates there are already between three-and-a half million and eight million at Delta Marsh.

“They rip up the vegetation. They make the water turbid and as a result the other species using the marsh in the past have been excluded because their habitat just isn’t there anymore,” said Andrews.

“We went from a very productive wetland to one that was no longer productive for waterfowl and other species of wildlife,” said Glen Suggett from Manitoba Conservation.

Conservation officials have been studying the problem since the early 2000s and said research showed that if there was a way to keep carp out, the marsh could thrive again.

“The sizing of the screens is 70 millimetres. That means we keep the big destructive carp out,” said Andrews.

The gates were put into place two weeks ago and are being credited with keeping out all but seven per cent of the carp, while allowing other species native to Manitoba to get in.

The province plans to study the effectiveness of the gates over the summer to see if the vegetation grows back. Costs for the project are pegged at $3.5 million.

- with a report from Caroline Barghout