Bacteria Suspected In Fish Kill

Several thousand dead crappie can cause health hazard

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A pungent odor and thousands of floating fish carcasses aren't exactly the ambiance Green Valley Park is going for.

Parks and Recreation Director Rick Manchester said a type of bacteria found in an as yet unknown species of algae is depleting the oxygen in the lake and is most likely the guilty party in the death of thousands of fish since Labor Day weekend.

Manchester said that the Arizona Game and Fish Department has been conducting an investigation for the last week and a half to try and sort out the problem.

"Some sort of bacteria is depleting the oxygen and killing certain fish," Manchester said. The only species of fish affected in the outbreak is crappie, he said.

"No trout, bass or catfish have been killed," Manchester said. "It's only affecting a certain size of four-inch crappie."

Manchester said that several thousand fish have already been scooped out of the lake, in an effort to clear up the odor.

"Any decaying flesh is a health hazard," he said.

Tests for the type of algae or bacteria affecting the fish are under way. Blue-green algae and golden algae have already been eliminated as suspects.

Manchester said that some of the algae in the lake is good for the fish ecosystem.

"The algae we do have creates oxygen for the fish," he said.

Manchester said that rain runoff could also be linked to the problem.

The game and fish department will likely investigate until the problem is identified.

"Fish and game, parks and recreation and the water department are on top of things," he said.

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