This winter’s brutally cold temperatures and heavy snow created the perfect conditions for winterkill on many southern Minnesota lakes.
It’s not uncommon for fish to die off during the winter and wash up on shore in the spring. However this spring could see far more reports of winterkill than usual, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Winterkill is caused by the depletion of dissolved oxygen in a lake. During the winter, sunlight can’t get through the ice and snow on the lake so plants and algae can’t produce as much oxygen through photosynthesis.
In shallow and nutrient-heavy lakes where algae blooms are common, the algae quickly use up the oxygen and die. Then the bacteria that feed on the decaying algae use up even more oxygen.
“We think that’s what happened,” said Craig Soupir, area DNR fisheries supervisor in Waterville, Minn.
“We had pretty extensive algae blooms early on when we had clear ice. Then we got dumped on with snow in a really short period of time.”
Anyone who observes dead or dying fish is encouraged to contact the local DNR fisheries office.
For the full article from mprnews.org, click here.
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