Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Great Salt Plains Lake Fish Kill

High temperatures and prolonged drought led to a major fish kill at Great Salt Plains Lake in northcentral Oklahoma this week. Biologists with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation estimate 10,000 fish have died due to low dissolved oxygen levels in the lake.

“This is a major fish kill and it reflects how this abnormal weather not only affects farmers and ranchers, but it also affects our lakes and our fisheries resources,” said Barry Bolton, assistant chief of fisheries for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “We are monitoring the situation closely. Unfortunately, there is simply not anything we can do to remedy high heat and lack of rain.”

According to Bolton, Great Salt Plains is a relatively shallow reservoir making it particularly susceptible to warm water temperatures.

“What we really need is some rain, cooler temperatures or strong winds - unfortunately none of these conditions are in the short-term forecast and there is a real concern that this situation could get worse before it gets better,” Bolton said. “However, nature is very resilient and long term outlook remains positive. We will continue to monitor the situation and we will adjust our management efforts, such as stocking, in the future if that is appropriate.”
There have been no other fish kills reported in other state reservoirs.

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