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Old 09-23-2008, 05:36 AM
Location: Morehead City, NC
1,676 posts, read 5,360,577 times
Reputation: 1245


Third fish kill in a month claims 75,000
September 22, 2008 - 7:23PM
Nikie Mayo
New Bern Sun Journal
Local: Third fish kill in a month claims 75,000 | lake, fish, oxygen : Sun Journal (http://www.newbernsj.com/news/lake_42254___article.html/fish_oxygen.html - broken link)
About 75,000 fish, most of them menhaden, have been found dead this week in Cypress Lake and state officials say the water's low oxygen levels are to blame.

Cypress Lake is in the Cypress Shores community opposite Trent Woods. It connects to Wilson Creek, which runs to the Trent River. The lake is known as a "borrow pit." Workers used sand from the location for a construction project and the hole was filled in as a man-made lake.

State officials say abundant fertilizer from "manicured lawns" in the area may have caused a large algae bloom to grow and choke oxygen from the lake.

The fish kill was reported Sunday and was studied at length on Monday, after members of the Neuse River Rapid Response Team got the kayaks they needed to best navigate the lake. The kill is "ongoing," said team leader Jason Green.

"We really don't know how long it will last," Green said. "The biological processes are at work and that's really what we need to work this out. It's really something that requires time to take care of it."

The N.C. Division of Water Quality said measurements in the lake Monday showed less than one milligram of oxygen per liter of water.

"Fish like five to eight milligrams per liter of oxygen," said Susan Massengale, a spokeswoman for the state Division of Water Quality. "Five milligrams is the very bottom end that will support healthy fish living.

"The area around the lake is developed with beautiful manicured lawns and the nutrient inputs to water from fertilizer may have caused an algae bloom to grow," she said.

Massengale said residents of the area said the lake had a "brown, cloudy appearance" just before the fish kill. That leads water monitors to believe that a large algae bloom was thriving in the lake.

"The same way fertilizer causes your plants to grow, it can cause algae to grow more than it would," Massengale said. "Bacteria eat algae, but they also take oxygen out of the lake."

Rick Dove, the former lower Neuse Riverkeeper, reported the fish kill.

"A resident actually called my wife because they knew I was Riverkeeper at one time," Dove said. "I just passed it along."

Of the fish killed, 95 percent were menhaden. The rest were generally flounder, spot and perch, Green said.

"The causal factor that acutely affected the fish was lack of dissolved oxygen," he said.

Green said his team does not have "good historical data" on Cypress Lake, which will be monitored for the next several days. The state is also studying samples that were collected from the lake Monday.

Officials aren't sure how many more fish may die this week in Cypress Lake.

Dove said state officials do not want to recognize that "the river is broken."

"The river has been consistently part of the impaired list because it is so overloaded with nutrients," he said. "It is just discouraging that they will say that nothing has to be done. That's the way to allow themselves to keep from doing anything."
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Old 09-23-2008, 12:13 PM
Location: Newport, NC
956 posts, read 3,595,544 times
Reputation: 703
Thanks for the report.
I try to add to your reputation each time you post these articles, but evidently I don't spread enough reps around because it always tell me I have to before I can boost your reputation.
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Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

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