Thousands of Fish Dead in Corporate Lake

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COLUMBIA - Extreme heat coupled with little rain likely contributed to thousands of dead fish in Corporate Lake Monday, the Missouri Department of Conservation said.

Known as a "low oxygen fish kill," the deaths occur when prolonged heat draws oxygen out of the water, forcing fish to move near the surface in an attempt to breathe. A developer who owns several properties on the lake said there was a broken aerator in the lake, forcing one of two fifteen foot fountains to stop working. The Missouri Department of Conservation said the fountains help oxygenate the lake, but the fish kill could not be attributed to the malfunctioning aerator.

Area workers said the stench of dead fish could be smelled blocks away. They likened it to combination of an aquarium and rotten sushi.

About 90 percent of the dead fish are bluegills, with the remainder being mostly crappies and a few bass, catfish, and carp.

The Missouri Department of Conservation said low oxygen fish kill is common in shallow lakes this time of year. It said there have been a number of similar reports around the state.

Corporate Lake experienced a similar fish kill in May 2010, when lake turnover and depleted algae resulted in low oxygen levels.