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Hundreds of fish die in Lily Pond

Published: Tue, July 23, 2013 @ 12:10 a.m.


Mill Creek MetroParks employees Chris Williams, right, and Cliff Thomas use a net to remove dead fish from the Lily Pond. A fish kill there, being cleaned up Monday morning, was caused by a lack of oxygen from a Saturday storm, the high heat and the lack of rain, a park official said.

By Denise Dick



Dead fish littered the shoreline and floated on the surface of Mill Creek MetroParks Lily Pond, their deaths caused by a lack of oxygen.

Park maintenance workers used nets Monday morning to scoop the dead carp, koi, catfish, bass and bluegill out of the pond, carrying them away in buckets.

Linda Kostka, park development and marketing director, said the Mahoning County Soil and Water Conservation District has taken samples of the pond water and park officials have consulted the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

“The sample taken by [Youngstown State University] shows what we suspected: lack of oxygen from the storm Saturday, the high heat and the lack of rain,” she said.

Steve Avery, park planning director and landscape architect, said dissolved oxygen is caused by a combination of high temperatures and a shallow pond. Avery said the pond is about 5 feet deep.

The fish suffocate from the lack of oxygen.

The pond is closed until further notice.

According to the website of the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension, dissolved oxygen is the most common cause of fish kills in ponds, and most occur in the summer. The oxygen demand in a pond is higher in the warmer months, and colder water holds more oxygen than warmer water, the site says.

ODNR Division of Wildlife’s website says that summer fish kills are “most common in shallow ponds that are heavily vegetated and have high accumulations of decomposing organic matter.”

The problem didn’t kill all of the fish, however.

“You can still see some fish swimming around in there,” Avery said.

Two park employees used a row boat to reach and remove the dead fish in the center of the pond. Others stood on the shore, gathering the carcasses that collected near the water’s edge. Masks covered their mouths and noses to cut down on the stench.

Gouges from the bodies of many fish along the shore indicate that something, likely turtles, made meals from the bodies.

The dead fish are being buried at the park’s maintenance facility, Kostka said.

Kostka said that a couple of weeks ago, the big storm that moved through the area caused a temperature inversion in the pond, killing some fish.

But the number that died was much lower than the latest problem that occurred over the weekend.

“We started getting calls about it Sunday afternoon,” she said.

The park plans to restore the pond — the oldest man-made body of water in the park district — and has been raising money. Estimated cost is $380,000.

The trail circling the pond will be restored and a handicapped-accessible observation platform added to allow visitors to sit or walk and get a better look at the ducks, geese, fish and other wildlife in the pond.

At the end of the pond farthest from the main parking lot, a boardwalk will replace a portion of the trail, stretching over the water.


1ytownsteelman(680 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

I'll bet some lefties are trying to blame this on the gas industry!

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2outoftownbutstillaround(16 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

I find it hard to believe that any living thing was able to make its home in that pond. Much like the rest of the park, that pond is basically a goose toilet. The Canadian Geese are significantly negatively impacting Mill Creek Park, and no one is doing anything about it.

It really is not the geese's fault - It doesn't help that you have all of the morons bringing entire loaves of bread down to feed these disgusting creatures.

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3walter_sobchak(2674 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

I think if somebody at the Vindy does some simple research, I remember this happening back in the late 60's or early 70's at the Lily Pond. There was a photo of workers putting the dead fish into wire containers and trash cans. Similarly, during July and August, the algae would bloom in Newport and Glacier, carpeting the surface of the water and making it hard for my grandfather and I to fish the lakes.

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4Attis(1129 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

dissolved oxygen? poppycock! this massive kill of fish, like the (once) beautiful lilly pond (which, once upon a time, contain hundreds of goldfish) is man-made. Those culprits running this jewel of the Mahoning Valley need to be all replaced by folks who care about nature's beauty and are not in the pockets of mother earth's frackers.

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5LtMacGowan(713 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

I bet youngstownsteelman would have said "now those environmental wackos will try and blame the Cuyahoga river catching fire for the 3rd time on pollution"

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6rickking123(330 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

If the lily pond is a man made pond then there is no reason why one or two aerators or large pumps can't be added to the pond to create better movement in the water. This will increase the amount of oxygen in the water and will lessen any fish kills when the weather turns hot. They don't have to run all the time, just during hot weather or just at night.

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7NoBS(2763 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

The Lily Pond, the Goldfish Pond, Lakes Newport, Cohasset, and Glacier - ALL need dredged!!!

Get off your duffs, MCPark Board, and do it!!! We don't care that it's expensive - we give you truckloads of money to maintain the park. So DO IT!!

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8Silence_Dogood(1670 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Factor #1
Every spring for the last decade or so the park has added chemicals to keep the algae population and the cyanobacteria population in check. The only drawback is that the algae and cyanobacteria produces oxygen that the fish NEED to survive.
Factor #2
The park just finished redoing the shoreline along the northern and western edge of the pond. Unfortunately the shoreline rehabilitation that was long overdue had the unintended effect of killing off the macrophyte plant life that was so common along these shorelines.The macrophytes produce oxygen, so once again the actions that the park took contributed to the lower levels of oxygen in the pond.
Factor #3
Sustained high temperatures. Man can not control the weather any more so then he can control the rotation of the earth. Mother nature sometimes can be a B!&#%.

Factor 3 alone could have been the only cause for this fish die off but a reasonable mind would have to come to the conclusion that factor 1 and 2 were contributing factors.The Park Board will never willingly admit that the first two factors played into this event, that would force a mea culpa on their part that I just don't see forthcoming.

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