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Negative impact of winter continues

Latest: 11:47 pm, 3/28/14, Friday SPRINGFIELD -- The brutal winter did a number on nature.
Latest: 11:47 pm, 3/28/14, Friday
SPRINGFIELD -- The brutal winter did a number on nature. The Department of Natural Resources reports ponds and lakes which have experienced fish kills in the past had it worse this winter. WCIA-3's Alex Davis finds out how the agency will help.

We often hear of fish kills happening during the summertime heat, but it can also happen in winter. Wildlife experts say ponds and shallow lakes which experienced winter fish kills in the past had more problems this winter.

"It's a big push for our biologists to work really hard on getting our lakes stocked."

Low temperatures freeze waterways and sunlight can't get through the ice to the water below. Limited sunlight slows algae and plant growth.

"Big freezes, you get snow cover, and that takes away your undergrowth, which your undergrowth is what puts your oxygen back in the water."

Fish, like blue gill, can sometimes survive these low oxygen levels.

"Luckily, many of them are resilient, they are definitely impacted by our extreme winters like the one, the one that we just had."

But many other species can't. While those kills might seem bad, wildlife experts say it's natural, making restocking those bodies of water a good thing.

"In some cases, we can help balance nature a little bit."

Fish such as bass, crappie, catfish and blue gill are native to Illinois, so experts say, restocking those species is even better.

"In the end, they're making these waterways healthier and exciting people in the process too."

Pond owners should assume no bass survived this winter and should restock as soon as possible. Local hatcheries can help with the process.
Update: 5:37 pm, 3/28/14, Friday
SPRINGFIELD -- The brutal winter did a number on nature. The Department of Natural Resources reports ponds and lakes which experienced fish kills in the past, probably did this winter too.

State biologists are offering advice for restocking ponds and small lakes after winter fish kills. Illinois Department of Natural Resources experts say occasional fish kills are natural when light can't get through the ice. Limited sunlight slows algae and plant growth and those produce oxygen.

Ponds which have experienced past winter fish kills probably did so again this winter. Officials say shallow ponds are more likely to have been affected. Deeper ponds have more oxygen to begin with and can sustain fish during winter months.

Blue gill, probably had the best chance of surviving. Pond owners should assume no bass survived and should restock as soon as possible.
Original: 4:17 pm, 3/24/14, Monday
URBANA -- The harsh winter is being blamed for a fish kill. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) says it happened at Crystal Lake. The prolonged snow and ice cover didn't provide fish enough oxygen. Crystal Lake isn't very deep. Shallow lakes are more prone to winter kills because there's less volume of water to hold oxygen.

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