The City of Lethbridge is taking action against invasive aquatic species found at three bodies of water in the city and is warning residents about proper disposal.
Aquarium species such as goldfish and koi have been discovered at Elma Groves Park and Chinook Lake in north Lethbridge, as well as Firelight Park on the west side in July 2020.
All three bodies of water are storm ponds.
On Thursday, contractors will take inventory of invasive species at Firelight Park to determine what exactly they’re dealing with.
Inventory will occur at the other locations at a later date, according to the city.
“They are non-native species, so they compete with the native species for food and habitat, and eventually out-compete them,” explained communications and outreach specialist Stephanie Vehnon with the water, storm water and wastewater department.
“This inventory might give us a better understanding of what is currently present in the storm pond.”
Vehnon explained humans release the aquarium species into these waters — an illegal action — which then grow and have the potential to harm the habitat.
“We definitely do not want people releasing goldfish or any aquarium species into our storm ponds. You can take them to your pet store, or (call) Alberta Environment for proper disposal.”
Allan Draper, owner of Petland Lethbridge, said their store policy is simple.
“If you do not want your fish anymore, bring them back to us and we will find them a home.”
He added they carry tropical fish, goldfish and koi, which have become more sought after since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Because people are isolated at home, fish are very relaxing to have in the house,” he said.
“To feed them, to interact with them — so they have become very popular during the pandemic.”
Vehnon added once the fish are removed from the pond next year, the plan is to donate them to Alberta Birds of Prey.