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“Winterkill” Brings Death to Numerous New York Ponds

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Many fish are dying because of  late snow and cold temps in New York state. 

The heavy snow and colder temperatures in New York are having a negative effect on fish and plant life in small ponds dubbed “winterkill.”

Winterkill causes an oxygen depletion in ponds and small lakes. This is a direct result of less sunlight being able to reach the plant life in the depths of the waters.

New York Department of Environmental Conservation Regional Fisheries Manager Michael Clancy told reporters, “As winter ice has started to melt away, we are receiving calls from concerned pond owners reporting large numbers of dead fish in their ponds. In most cases, fish kills that become evident when the ice melts can be attributed to a natural phenomenon known as winterkill.”

Typically only smaller bodies of water, and the larger fish who inhabit them, are affected by winterkill.

Low oxygen levels can affect fish species at different rates. Catfish and carp can handle lower oxygen levels than sunfish, bass or trout.

To avoid winterkill the pond depth must be increased, and removing some of the decaying plant material can help oxygen depletion.

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“Winterkill” Brings Death to Numerous New York Ponds