SALT LAKE CITY -- The state Legislature is looking to shell out some cash to help remove the large population of carp located in Utah Lake.
Thursday morning, the Legislature's Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee gave the go-ahead to a priority list of funding that includes $500,000 for the effort to remove the fish from the lake. The amount is less than half of what the Utah Lake Commission had hoped to get from the Legislature, as the commission requested well over $1 million for the program.
"The big concern is endangered species mitigation," said Rep. Mike McKell, when making the request for the money on Tuesday.
McKell explained to the committee that money is used to help fend off the carp that attack the endangered June sucker fish. Currently, the June sucker sits on the federal government's endangered species list. Crews on the lake have mounted efforts recently to remove carp from the lake to help protect the sucker.
McKell's original request to the committee was for $800,000, but that number was scaled back as the final priority list from the subcommittee was made. The priority list will be submitted to the Executive Appropriations Committee, which will then craft a budget around that list. The list will then be put up for a vote in the Legislature toward the end of the session.
The money McKell is requesting comes from a one-time funding account, meaning the Utah Lake Commission would need to find a lawmaker next year to ask for any money again if they need additional funds.
McKell said he hopes Utah and Salt Lake Counties, as well as cities in both counties, will look to fund the program on a local level in the future instead of requesting funding from the state.
Utah County Commissioner Larry Ellertson told the Daily Herald in January that the agencies running the carp removal program have not asked the county for any money to aid in the program.