SRP preps for final stocking of 'mosquito fish'

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SRP is preparing for the final stocking of the "mosquito fish." (Source: SRP) SRP is preparing for the final stocking of the "mosquito fish." (Source: SRP)
(Source: SRP) (Source: SRP)
(Source: SRP) (Source: SRP)
(Source: SRP) (Source: SRP)

The Salt River Project is preparing for the final stocking of the "mosquito fish" held on Thursday morning.

Since 2004, the Salt River Project has been combating the spread of mosquito-borne diseases by filling the Valley canals with Gambusia affins fish.

Each year, around 200,000 fish eat mosquito and larvae.

SRP also includes amur fish in the canals to reduce the need for herbicides to control aquatic weeds. 

The idea is that these fish will make their way into culverts and ditches where standing water is more likely to occur. 

Brian Moorhead is a senior scientist and engineer in SRP's Groundwater Division who heads up the stocking program. 

"These fish are only one to two inches long, and they can move into our smaller laterals and ditches to help curb the mosquito populations there," said Moorhead.

[RELATED: Photos: Ticks, mosquitoes, and mites: Surviving bite season]

"Much of the infrastructure that delivers SRP irrigation water connects to residential shareholders, privately owned irrigation facilities, such as ditches, pipes and standboxes, which can have pools of water that last for several days. These fish can then use the pipelines as conduits to assist in removing mosquito larvae," he added.

The fish are purchased from fish farms in North Carolina and arrive via air freight in batches of approximately 15,000 fish.

When they arrive, the fish are distributed among several SRP canal sites and make their way to the lateral system.

The final stocking is set for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at the Arizona and Crosscut canals in Scottsdale and Tempe.

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