Saturday, July 30, 2011

892 Kissimmee River fish killed - 30th July 2011

Like wildfire, last week's fish kill on the Kissimmee River was part of a natural process, Highlands County lakes manager Clell Ford said Friday.

The kill was first reported by boaters in Pool C, who saw 6-inch catfish and large bass floating.

"We surveyed the river on July 25 and took rough counts and water quality measurements," said a report from South Florida Water Management District environmental scientist Lynda Dirk. "A total of 892 dead fish were observed."

About 95 percent were blue tilapia, along with a few bass, sunfish, brown hoplo, shad and gar.

Oddly, blue tilapia are generally more tolerant to low oxygen levels than bass and sunfish. However, she said, the dissolved oxygen content was less than 1 milligram for a prolonged period of time.

After a dry spring, the rains came and flushed stagnant water from sloughs and the recently restored parts of the river, Dirk said.

"There are things that they could do to keep this from happening," Ford said, "but if you don't have any more water to flow through there, that's what happens. Fish kills happen on a reoccurring basis."

Fish kills are part of the natural process, Ford said. Read More