It’s a case of murder most foul at the Kanza Southwind Nature Preserve, as hundreds of dead carp — and the associated rotting fish smell — line the banks of a pond on the preserve, near 27th Street and the South Lawrence Trafficway in southwest Lawrence.
“It’s a smelly affair,” said Chuck Bever, regional fisheries supervisor with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.
But it’s a whodunit easily solved, Bever said.
“Generally speaking, they’re heat-related,” Bever said, explaining that the warm temperatures suck oxygen from the water, leaving little for fish. Add in decaying plant material that isn’t surviving the heat, which in turn sucks out more oxygen, and it creates risk for larger fish, Bever said.
It’s a phenomenon seen mostly in smaller ponds and lakes across Kansas.
Other than the unpleasant smell, the dead fish don’t cause any other problems, and provide an extra snack for critters and vultures, Bever said.
Mark Hecker, parks and maintenance superintendent with the city of Lawrence, which maintains the Kanza Preserve, said they hadn’t heard about the issue at Kanza until Monday, but would be sending a crew out there to clean up the fish to reduce the unpleasant smell.
Such fish kills are common during extreme heat, Hecker said.
It’ll be up to Mother Nature to save the fish.
“Basically, we need rain,” Hecker said.