Just when you thought you’d heard everything there was to hear about the whole Lake Lowell recreation vs. wildlife ruckus, someone tossed a new barrel of monkeys into the whole mix.

Actually, make that a barrel of fish. Carp, to be precise. About 1.3 million. A very large barrel, indeed.

Ah yes, carp. That bottom-feeding, bony object of scorn from serious fisherpersons which is apparently proliferating abundantly in the lake. Seems the Idaho Department of Fish and Game wants to remove an estimated 5 million pounds of ‘em because the little rascals cause algae blooms, harm aquatic species and — get this — muddy the waters.

Muddy the waters? Muddy the waters? Could you possibly ask for a better metaphor to describe what’s going on at Lake Lowell? Consider:

  • The boaters are concerned because they may be restricted on where, when and how they can recreate on the lake.
  • The feds are concerned about the birds and other wildlife having a protected habitat.
  • State Fish and Game is concerned about “trash fish” and is considering paying people to remove 5 million pounds of it. Possible cost — three-quarters of a million bucks.
  • Canyon County commissioners say the water actually belongs to the county, not the feds.

It’s now official: Lake Lowell has become a three-ring circus.

Sure, it’s easy enough to point out the silliness, but quite another thing altogether to offer a practical solution. So here are some possibilities:

  • Eliminate any and all restrictions on boating — with the requirement that all boaters carry fishing poles or bows and must fish or hunt for carp.
  • Because carp are a delicacy in China, sell Lake Lowell fishing rights to the Chinese and use to proceeds to help pay down the portion of our national debt owned by China.
  • Make a deal with the feds — the water belongs to the county, the carp belongs to the state and the land belongs to the federal government. The county controls the recreation, the state controls the carp and the feds can refurbish the docks. Everybody wins.

Yes, we’re just being flippant. But given all the turf wars and species battling for supremacy (fish, birds, boaters, government officials), sometimes you just have to take a step back and laugh at it all. Unless that, too, is prohibited in any of the four preliminary conservation plans. Wouldn’t want to scare off the Western Grebe.


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