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University Relations

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May 4, 2009
Contact: Peg Livingood, Design and Construction Management, (785) 864-5627.

Students use fish to clean Potter Lake

LAWRENCE — University of Kansas students have introduced herbivorous fish to Potter Lake in an effort to clean up overgrown foliage from the beloved campus water hole.

The Potter Lake Project student group, with the assistance Kansas Biological Survey scientists and Kansas wildlife professionals, introduced 14 Asian grass carp to the lake March 26. The lake, created in 1911 as a fire-control reservoir, contains an overabundance of plant life that depletes oxygen levels in the lake and causes unpleasant floating muck. Project members hope the carp will consume offending growth and improve the lake’s health.

“We would like it, when it’s 100 years old, to look like it’s brand new,” said England Porter, senior in environmental studies and a project coordinator from Independence, Kan.

The carp came free-of-charge, thanks to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks and Richard Sanders, fisheries biologist at Clinton Lake, who orchestrated their delivery.

Scott Campbell, a research associate at the Kansas Biological Survey, said that the young, 15-inch carp would need time to work before improvements could be seen in the lake. He said the carp will consume more and more vegetation as they reach their full weight of 35 to 40 pounds and that their progress will be monitored over the next few years.

“But people can rest assured they are doing their job 24-hours a day,” he said, adding that the creatures typically graze on vegetation near the lake’s shoreline.

KU alumni have made donations to further the student-led effort. People who fish in the lake are asked to release any grass carp they catch so they can continue their work.

Many students help and support the Potter Lake Project. Students recognized for their high level of involvement are listed below by hometown, year in school, major, parents’ names and previous schools attended.

From Fort Leavenworth 66027
John Dannley Kenny, senior in civil engineering and aerospace engineering, son of Kraig and Deborah Kenny, Leavenworth Senior High School.

From Coffeyville 67337
Frederic “Ric” Carter Brown, senior in civil engineering, son of Fred and Sarah Brown, Field Kindley Memorial High School.

From Independence 67301
England Porter, senior in environmental studies, daughter of Paul and Susan Porter, Independence Senior High School.

From Salina 67401
Sara Thompson, senior in civil engineering, chemical engineering and environmental studies, daughter of Bob and Sue Thompson, Salina High School Central.

Timarie Thelma Trarbach, senior in architecture, daughter of Nancy and Terry Trarbach, Salina High School Central.

From Chesterfield 63017
Melissa A. Allen, senior in architecture and urban planning, daughter of Robert and Sue Allen; Parkway Central High School.

Lindsay Jean Brisko, junior in architecture, daughter of Theresa and Robert Brisko, Parkway Central High School.

From St. Peters 63376
Matthew Michael Nahrstedt, junior in architecture, son of Michael and Candace Nahrstedt, Desmet Jesuit High School.

From Omaha 68154
Alina E. Harbourne, senior in environmental studies, daughter of Regina and Brian Harbourne, Harry A. Burke Senior High School.


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