West Medical Lake has been overrun with goldfish over the past few years, and now they're having an adverse effect on the native trout.
Washington Fish and Wildlife stock West Medical Lake with thousands of baby trout every year. Letting nature run its course and letting the fish grow. But sometimes they run into problems.
“This works really really well until an undesirable species gets put in the lake and established,” said Randy Osborne, a Fisheries Biologist with Washington Fish and Wildlife.
Osborne says once these goldfish become established their population explodes. They take food sources and oxygen in the water, which directly impacts the trout.
Goldfish or Koi in West Medical Lake is not something new. Fish and wildlife have been battling this problem for more than two decades.
"If they get caught doing that and get prosecuted, they could be responsible for the restitution of fixing the problem that they created," added Osborne.
Fixing this problem won't be cheap. Fish and Wildlife said it will take $150,000 to rehab the entire lake. That's money most people don't have floating around. Fish and Wildlife Field Sergeant Mike Sprecher says sometimes pet owners think they're doing right by their fish by letting them go free. But the good deed is bad news for Mother Nature.
“The good deed of somebody here locally saying, 'Well I can't keep this anymore, I don't want to keep this anymore' and they let it go in the lake. I call it bucket biology," added Sprecher.
Fish and Wildlife tell KHQ they have submitted a proposal to the state with hopes to rehab the lake in October 2018.