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Fish kills connected to extreme heat

9:35 PM, Jul 5, 2012   |    comments
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By Ashley Yarchin

St. Louis County (KSDK) - The extreme heat has led to a troubling and smelly situation for folks who live by ponds or shallow lakes. After getting a call from a NewsChannel 5 viewer about her own brush with what's called a fish kill, we went to check it out.

It's a sight you and your family do not want to wake up to--especially on the Fourth of July--a day you expect to have off to relax.  Elizabeth O'Keefe said dozens of fish surfaced at her family pond, in what they describe as the biggest fish kill they've ever seen.

If you aren't familiar with the term, it's when a huge population of fish in one location dies off.

Fisheries Biologist Kent Bourbon explained that because of the heat, water has been evaporating from those bodies of water, and since we haven't gotten much rain, the volume is low, decreasing oxygen and causing fish to come to the surface for air. Up there, the water is hot, so much so that the fish cannot withstand the temperatures and they die.

It's a problem the experts believe will only get worse this summer.

"We had 30-pound carp and lots of blue gill and bass and it's disgusting," O'Keefe said. "I'm sure all the neighborhood could smell it."

"I would expect big problems, fish kills unless you substantially try to do some kind of acclamation," said Bourbon. "But if you start to get a fish kill, a quick fix thing to do is to take your water hose, if you can get it there and just put the sprayer on and just shoot it out at the pond. I've done it and it works."

He added that it'll cool the water and increase oxygen levels.

The O'Keefes have since turned on their fountain to create the same effect. 


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