Washington Parks and Street Department employees spent the morning cleaning up a fish kill at the city's Lower Eastside Park Lake. The problem was reported around 7 in the morning with dozens of dead fish washing up on the shore.

“It appears to be an oxygen problem in the water,” said Washington Mayor Dave Rhoads. “The lack of rain we have had recently seems to deplete the oxygen in the water until finally the fish begin to die. I really don’t think there was anything we could do.”

The fish kill was limited to the lower lake at the park. Officials say crews took some of the fish that appeared to be struggling and put them in the upper lake.

“When they put them in the upper lake, they took right off,” said Rhoads. “We lost a lot of fish but we also managed to save some and I was told that some of those we saved were pretty good size.”

Officials point out this is not the first time the city’s lake has had a fish kill. “We had the same thing happen about 10 years ago,” said Rhoads. “It is not a common event but we have seen it before.”

The mayor praised city crews for their work with the fish. “The guys got on it pretty quickly,” he said. “I think that is why we were able to save so many fish.”

The mayor says the city is working with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to make certain there were not any additional problems. 

“We’re still working on it,” said Rhoads. “We’re still assessing what happened and trying to see if there is something else to do.”

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