FWC: Low oxygen levels likely caused Lake Santa Fe fish kill

Published: Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 at 11:42 p.m.

A fish kill on Lake Santa Fe that has resulted in thousands of dead shad was likely caused by a drop in dissolved oxygen in the water, said the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Commission spokeswoman Karen Parker said it appears the worst of the kill is over but added the agency wants to hear from residents who see new deaths or the deaths of other types of fish.

"We consider the event to be winding down. The winds that came through stirred up the water and eased the conditions that were causing the kill," Parker said. "We should be OK, but we want to keep an eye on it. If anybody sees more dead fish - different species or a really fresh kill - please report it so we can keep on top of it."

Residents along Lake Santa Fe first reported seeing dead fish on Friday. The numbers had increased substantially by Saturday.

Commission biologists believe the kill was caused by a drop in oxygen levels, which occurred when several hot, bright days were followed by several cloudy days.

The thread-fin shad, which live at the surface, seemed to be the most affected species. A commission biologist believes other species were able to retreat deeper into the lake, where it's cooler and where oxygen is more abundant, Parker said.

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