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article imageBlazing heat harming fish in the U.S. Midwest

By Leigh Goessl     Jul 14, 2012 in World
In several areas of the U.S. Midwest, the scorching temperatures and drought-like conditions have been contributing to the deaths of fish.
Several states are reporting an increased level of fish kills, mainly in ponds and shallow waters.
According to WTAQ, officials and biologists in Wisconsin reported some of the largest and oldest fish in southern Wisconsin have died.
In Independence, Missouri, the blazing temperatures have reportedly harmed fish residing in shallow waters because there is no place for the fish to retreat where the water is not only cooler, but has a higher presence of oxygen-rich water. Additionally, some ponds have lost several inches of water per month with the recent heat waves.
“The hot, dry weather isn’t just hard on humans, it’s hard on fish, too,” said Jake Allman, fisheries biologist for the Missouri Department of Conservation, reported the Examiner.
In Kentucky, it's being reported some sections of the state are 12 inches or more short of rainfall so far this year. With drought conditions and soaring temperatures, many fish have died. What was described as a "significant" fish kill occurred in an area just north of Madisonville, Ky. Water temperatures were documented at 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius).
"Streams are very low right now," Jeff Ross, assistant director of fisheries for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources told NBC Lex18. "Record heat combined with low water results in little to no dissolved oxygen in the water, making streams susceptible to isolated fish kills."
News 620 WTMJ in Wisconsin reported wildlife in general are under stress due to the heat waves, not only fish, but the birds, and even bugs, are also suffering and/or dying.
In other Upper Midwest states, reportedly thousands of fish have also died in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, and, unfortunately, more heat-related fish kills are expected.
Several media reports did note that the fish deaths are not expected to have an overall significant impact on fish populations, however, as Associated Press notes, some of the older and larger fish populations may be more affected.
"These things are going to occur," said Henry Drewes, the Department of Natural Resources regional fisheries manager for northwestern Minnesota in Bemidji. "There are going to be more fish kills reported in the weeks ahead."
Many areas of the U.S. have seen triple digits multiple times so far this summer, and for many regions in the country, prolonged heat and humidity is expected to continue.
More about Fish, Fish deaths, United States, US, Midwest
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