It’s now been confirmed. The dead fish at Eastside Park were the result of the bottom lake turning over resulting in a fish kill.
“I have talked to the Indiana District Fisheries Biologist Dave Kittaka and Indiana Conservation Officer Kiersten Forbey about what has happened and they advised this was due to the lake turning over,” said Washington Parks and Recreation Superintendent Kip Kelley.
According to an article on fish population management by Purdue Extension, fish kills, like the one at Eastside Park, are most often caused by low dissolved oxygen.
The kills typically take place in either late summer or late winter.
During summer, the article states the water at a pond’s surface becomes warmer and less dense than the bottom water, creating distinct layers (called stratification) in the water column. Shallow and surface waters get renewed with oxygen from plants and waves but deeper waters don’t get renewed and can end up having very low oxygen (hypoxia).
Kelley said the parks department, with some help from the community, has spent several hours removing the dead fish.
“We did lose a lot of fish but we were also able to save several by transferring them to the upper lake,” said Kelley, who said luckily there was not a total fish kill. “Mr. Kittaka said the DNR will be here sometime in October to restock both of the lakes.”
While the fish are gone, the smell is still lingering.
“There’s nothing we can do about the smell,” said Kelley. “It will slowly get better and eventually go away. We thank everyone for their patience.”
For more information on fish population management visit https://extension.purdue.edu/pondwildlife/fish-population-management/.