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Tuesday
Jun132017

What's that Smell? Don't worry - it's just the seasonal cycle of fish kill

Via a June 13 e-newsletter from the Minneapolis Park and Rec Board:

Summer’s Rising Heat Brings Fish Kills to Light

Seasonal cycle of Minneapolis lakes fish kills is no cause for concern

Have you been noticing some not-so-pleasant smells around the lake shores? Don’t be alarmed! As strange as it sounds, the increase in temperature and the appearance of dead fish and decomposing plants around Minneapolis lakes have a direct correlation.
 
“Every spring, the rise in water temperatures and ensuing decrease in oxygen available for the fish, combined with the stress from spawning, can lead to fish kills," said Deb Pilger, Director of Environmental Management for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB). "They will die off and it gets a little smelly. There is also plant life in the lake that will decompose when it gets warm, and people may notice those smells.”
 
According to the Minnesota DNR, oxygen depletion can be a factor contributing to fish kills in lakes all across Minnesota. Heavy rains during early summer can cause unusual high runoff from fertilized lawns, athletic fields, golf courses and farm fields. The runoff carries nutrients into the lakes, which combined with hot weather, can accelerate the growth of algae and other plants.
 
The MPRB reports all fish kills to the DNR and the fish are tested if DNR believes they were killed by factors other than mentioned above.
 
“Typically, only those who own a home or cabin and have lakeshore access are aware of the fish kill odor,” said Pilger. “But because the paths and trails around Minneapolis lakes offer users such great access, more people notice it.”
 
Species affected are usually sunfish, crappies and bullheads and occasionally, largemouth bass and northern pike.
 
"We really try to keep an eye out for the spring and summer fish kills to make sure we get the fish cleaned up in a timely manner," added Pilger.
 
A Few Things to Remember About Summer Fish Kills:

1) Fish kills and plant decomposition happen yearly.
2) Fish kills occur not just in Minneapolis lakes but in many lakes in Minnesota.
3) Seasonal fish kills have no effect on the quality of the lake’s water for swimming or boating, the quality of the other fish in the lake or the ability to eat or consume fish from the lake.

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