Schools of fish keep canals in check - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Schools of fish keep canals in check

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - It's not something you see every day, fish being released into the wild.

Thursday was the rare exception on the Treasure Coast. In Port St. Lucie thousands of fish were released into canals to help maintain the area’s waterways.

"They tend to like to eat the stuff that has a lot of problems,” J.D. Gillenwaters said.

Gillenwaters says every few years new carp are placed into the canals to help communities like the one Richard Brennan lives, near Green River Parkway and Walton Road.

"I think money should be spent to maintain first of all what we have,” Brennan said.

The city bought 1,500 grass carp. They traveled more than 500 miles from a farm outside Montgomery, Alabama to eat the excess vegetation in canals.

"The bottoms of these canals have muck and if you get enough water washing up fast enough, you get things to lift up and the next thing you know there is flooding,” Gillenwaters said.

In addition to the carp, 4000 shell crackers or Redear Sunfish were released. They are there to keep exotic snails in check. Gillenwaters says the invasive snails are eating the plants that clean the water before it’s released out to the ocean.

Port St. Lucie is paying close to $10,000 for the two schools of fish. Brennan and his neighbors say it's worth it.

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