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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
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.
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.