Tag Archive | water temperatures

5,400 rainbow trout dead ‘due to heat’ in a hatchery in Washington, USA

Fish Kill Alert

Water that was too warm killed about 5,400 rainbow trout — nearly all of them — at the Whatcom Falls Park hatchery during a summer marked by drought and high temperatures.
Most of the fish were in two large shallow ponds at the hatchery, which belongs to the Washington state Department of Fish & Wildlife but is operated by Bellingham Technical College’s fisheries program.
“This weather we’ve had, we’re seeing warmer water temperatures than we’ve ever seen historically,” said Kevin B. Clark, Nooksack Basin hatchery manager for Fish & Wildlife. “It basically cooked them.”
Clark said the massive fish die-off occurred first in one pond, around mid-July, and then in a second pond the third week of July — both seemingly overnight.
“This is an absolute first for us. I hope it’s not a pattern,” he said, noting the dead fish were “warm to the touch.”
This was the second hottest July on record in Bellingham. The average high was 76.8 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. The normal high is 71.3 degrees.
The average low was 57.7 degrees, well above the norm of 53.5.
Water temperatures at the hatchery were, on average, four to five degrees warmer than usual for that time of the year, with a high of 76.2 degrees that was recorded shortly after a hot Fourth of July weekend, according to Clark.
“That’s so warm you just look at them and they just about die. The fish just don’t like water that warm,” said Earl Steele, fisheries instructor at Bellingham Technical College.
BTC’s fisheries program and its students operate the hatchery for the state.
Clark said most of the fish that died were going to be among those put into lakes in Whatcom, Skagit and Island counties for fishing. A couple hundred managed to survive.
“I hope they can make it until things cool off,” Clark said.
Of those that died, he said, “That’s over a year’s worth of work for us.”
The water for the hatchery ponds at Whatcom Falls Park is pulled from the shallowest part of Lake Whatcom, near Bloedel Donovan Park, and then a gravity-feed system empties water into the ponds.
The water is cooler when it first drops into the concrete ponds.
When temperatures started to climb, the hatchery tried to cool the ponds by exchanging the water faster and putting a tarp over one of the ponds. Neither could offset the warmer temperatures.
Clark said people asked him why crews didn’t truck the fish to places with cooler temperatures. He said with the amount of stress the fish experienced because of the warm water, they likely would’ve die as he tried to transport them.
And Bellingham water couldn’t be used to cool the ponds because it contains chlorine, which is deadly to fish.
“We get a lot of visitors to Whatcom Falls Park,” he said, “and there was a lot of questions.”
This might have been the last year for visitors to see fish at the hatchery during summer.
Warmer temperatures in recent years already required crews to treat the trout for columnaris and “ich,” bacteria and parasites that sicken fish. That’s made it more difficult to have fish at the hatchery during summer the past three years.
In the short term, the state will continue to use the hatchery at Whatcom Falls Park, but only until the second week of April when the fish will be put into area lakes for the opening of trout fishing season.
Courtesy of bellinghamherald.com

Hundreds of thousands of sockeye salmon dying in the Columbia River, USA

More than a quarter million sockeye salmon returning from the ocean to spawn are either dead or dying in the Columbia River and its tributaries due to warming water temperatures.
Federal and state fisheries biologists say the warm water is lethal for the cold-water species and is wiping out at least half of this year’s return of 500,000 fish.
“We had a really big migration of sockeye,” said Ritchie Graves of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “The thing that really hurts is we’re going to lose a majority of those fish.”
He said up to 80 percent of the population could ultimately perish.
Elsewhere in the region, state fisheries biologists in Oregon say more than 100 spring chinook died earlier this month in the Middle Fork of the John Day River when water temperatures hit the mid-70s. Oregon and Washington state have both enacted sport fishing closures due to warm water, and sturgeon fishing in the Columbia River upstream of Bonneville Dam has been halted after some of the large, bottom dwelling fish started turning up dead.
Efforts by management teams to cool flows below 70 degrees by releasing cold water from selected reservoirs are continuing in an attempt to prevent similar fish kills among chinook salmon and steelhead, which migrate later in the summer from the Pacific Ocean.
The fish become stressed at temperatures above 68 degrees and stop migrating at 74 degrees. Much of the basin is at or over 70 degrees due to a combination that experts attribute to drought and record heat in June.
“The tributaries are running hot,” Graves said. “A lot of those are in the 76-degree range.”
In Idaho, an emergency declaration earlier this month allowed state fisheries managers to capture endangered Snake River sockeye destined for central Idaho and take them to a hatchery to recover in cooler water. Of the 4,000 fish that passed Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, less than a fourth made it to Ice Harbor Dam on the Snake River. An average year is 70 percent.
“Right now it’s grim for adult sockeye,” said Russ Kiefer of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. He said sockeye will often pull into tributary rivers in search of cooler water, but aren’t finding much relief.
“They’re running out of energy reserves, and we’re getting a lot of reports of fish dead and dying,” he said.
Thirteen species of salmon and steelhead are listed as endangered or threatened in the Columbia River basin.
Don Campton of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said fish congregating in confined areas trying to find cool water makes them a target for pathogens.
“When temperatures get warm, it does stress the fish out and they become susceptible to disease,” he said.
Graves said that this year’s flow in the Columbia River is among the lowest in the last 60 years. But he said the system has experienced similar low flows without the lethal water temperatures. He said the difference this year has been prolonged hot temperatures, sometimes more than 100 degrees, in the interior part of the basin.
“The flow is abnormally low, but on top of that we’ve had superhot temperatures for a really long time,” he said.
Courtesy of msn.com

Hundreds of spring Chinook Salmon turning up dead in Oregon rivers, USA

Hundreds of spring Chinook salmon have been found dead in Oregon rivers over the past week, in a sign that abnormally high water temperatures are taking a toll on the threatened species, wildlife officials said on Friday.
Low snowpack linked to a historic drought has prevented icy-cold runoff from entering rivers as normal this year, according to federal hydrologists.
Temperatures in the Willamette River, a tributary of the Columbia River, have risen from 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius) to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 Celsius) over the past week, about 12 degrees F (6.5 Celsius) higher than it was the year prior, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Rick Swart said.
“Anything above 70 degrees, the fish are really stressed,” Swart said.
Overall, Swart said it would take several more years of warm rivers to create a significant long-term setback for Chinook salmon populations, which have been returning to the Willamette River at levels not seen for decades.
As of June 14, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials had counted more than 51,000 Chinook passing through a fish-counting station on the river, far above the 50-year average of 41,000.
A majority of the fish found dead so far also were hatchery raised, rather than the wild fish designated as “threatened” under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, Swart said. He added that a biologist’s spot-check showed at least 11 wild Chinook had died on the Clackamas in recent days.
While spring Chinook typically die in the fall after spawning and it is not unusual for some to die every spring and summer, pre-spawning deaths this year are both more numerous and earlier in the season than is typical, Swart said.
To cope with the conditions, some salmon have pushed into tributaries of the Willamette, where temperatures, while higher than normal, are below the 70 degree threshold (21 Celsius), he said.
Some 50 fish that attempted to make the journey from the Willamette to the Clackamas were found dead this week in that tributary.
Warm waters could ultimately also challenge fish hatcheries, but at present these government-overseen breeders do not expect an impact this year, he said.
Courtesy of reuters.com

Thousands of dead fish wash up at Washoe Lake in Nevada, America

Three years of drought is taking its toll on Washoe Lake. The water is a few hundred yards away from the boat dock, where the water used to reach. That is leaving behind nothing but a muddy mess and thousands of dead fish. Chris Healy is a spokesman for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. He says the lake’s water has receded much more quickly in the past few weeks.

“This kind of thing happens, periodically, at Washoe Lake,” Healy said. “Unfortunately, all too often in the past couple of decades.”

The fish line the old shoreline for hundreds of yards down the east side of the lake. Almost all of them are carp, and Healy says if if they are dying, you know it’s a bad situation.
“They can survive some difficult problems with water, low oxygen levels, very little water to survive in,” Healy said. “But in this case, no water means no survival.”

Healy says in the early 1900s, the lake would go dry about once every 20 years. It’s much more common now, since the area has been in a dry period for more than two decades.

“In the last 20-plus years, there’s four or five instances of these kinds of things happening, with the lack of water, at Washoe Lake,” Healy said.

This is a much different scenario than we saw at the Sparks Marina, last year, when thousands of fish washed up on shore because of cold water temperatures and lack of wind.

“It caused what’s called a violent turnover,” Healy said. “So, essentially, there was no oxygen in the water. That means no oxygen and the fish all pass away.”   

Washoe Lake is only six to eight feet deep during a wet year, and NDOW doesn’t stock fish there because of the potential for the lake to dry up.

“We’re hoping we get an extended wet period and the day will come when we can rebuild that modest fishing at Washoe Lake,” Healy said.

Meanwhile, the fish have been a source of food for other animals, whose tracks can be found along the mud. Some fish have been partially eaten.

“You’re going to see raccoons out there,” Healy said. “You’re going to see coyotes. You’re going to see a lot of birds out there that will actually clean up the mess.”

NDOW says they don’t plan to remove the fish. Instead, they say they will leave them there and let nature take care of the problem.


Large fish kill in a lake in South Bay, California, America

Fish Kill Alert

Lots of dead fish are turning up in a lake in the South Bay. It is unpleasant and worrisome. You can’t miss the smell if you’re around Vasona Lake in Los Gatos, but that’s not the only problem. All of those dead fish are attracting some unwelcome visitors as well.

It’s the circle of life and as one water expert put it, nature can be cruel sometimes. Fish are dying and animals are in survival mode.

Among the beauty and the wild life at Vasona Lake lies an ugly and smelly problem. Dead, decaying fish are floating in the muck and the very algae that helped kill them.

“When you have high nutrients, high water temperatures, you tend to get issues with water quality and algae,” Debra Caldon from the Santa Clara Valley Water District said.

The algae sucks the oxygen out of the water. Now the dead fish are attracting vultures. Once they’ve picked through the carcasses, there’s just a bad smell and dead fish left over.

“Smells like dead fish. It smells like dirty water and dead fish. It’s not natural,” Los Gatos resident Cecil Anison said.

Also not the norm in the park is daytime coyote sightings. A dog owner spotted a coyote in the park last week at 10:30 a.m. Coyotes are typically nocturnal. Wildlife experts think they are coming to the lake for water since other sources may have dried up.

Coyote Watch Los Gatos member Jo Beth Dow was traumatized by a coyote encounter a few years ago. Now she won’t walk her dog without her repellant spray handy. She said, “Absolutely, I’m scared. Because in 2009 my cat was taken off my front door step and killed by a pack of coyotes.”

This dramatic a shift in nature’s balance is surprising just about everyone at Vasona Lake. The only thing that will help, according to the water district, is rain and water conservation.


5,300+ Dead Fish Found In Clinton Lake, Illinois, America

A large winter fish kill at Clinton Lake near DeWitt has been attributed to recent fluctuations in water temperatures.

A wide selection of species, including walleye, bass, crappie and channel catfish, was among more than 5,300 fish located Tuesday by a fisheries biologist from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

The fish were found between the Illinois 48 and DeWitt bridges, near the hot water channel for the Clinton Power Station, said IDNR spokesman Tim Schweizer.

“Abrupt changes in water temperatures are not uncommon at a power plant lake” and likely caused the fish kill, said Schweizer.

Lake fishing should not be negatively impacted, said Schweizer.