LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A normally beautiful lake in Little Rock has turned into a fish graveyard. Neighbors around Lake Foreman have been smelling the hundreds of fish lining where there was once water.
The homeowners who own the lake have been performing a planned drawback lowering that water level, but something happened which was not planned at all.
You can see it. You can smell it. It might be the easiest way to catch it. Fish on dry land because mother nature interrupted Jane Evans and the Lake Foreman Preservation Society’s plans.
“The lake is manmade, and you have to take care of it,” explained Jane D. Evans, Lake Foreman Preservation Society President.
29 homeowners decided to lower the lake by about 10 feet clean debris, perform maintenance and build landscape a wall around one of the lake’s edges.
It happens a little less than once a decade, but this time a few things surprisingly turned up for the worst.
As neighbor Karen Norfleet stated, “It was just a perfect storm of bad news.”
According to Evans, last week’s rain and cloud cover changed temperatures drastically in the water. That was deadly for phytoplankton which compounded how already deadly it was for fish.
Trey Reid, assistant chief of communications at Arkansas Game and Fish explained when any lake’s size decreases, its risks increase.
“Fish kills like this are not uncommon in the extremely hot weather like we’ve been having,” Reid said. “Shallow water heats up faster, and what the result is a loss of dissolved oxygen.”
Which can contribute to creating a fish graveyard, but not every neighbor is upset.
“The gardener in me kicked in and said you know you can take advantage of all that dead fish,” Karen Norfeel who lives downwind from the smell.
Karen collected about 100 pounds of dead fish to fertilize her garden, but not everyone is going to clean it up like her.
Jane Evans says that work is for the birds. In fact, vultures took care of most of the fish in the following days.
“If we had another fish kill, I’d do it just like we did it. Nature cleans it up. It’s not an abnormal thing,” Evans concluded.
It’s been almost a week since the fish started floating up, so the smell is dying down. But there’s another concern apart from the smell. When the phytoplankton died, it released toxins that could be harmful to pets, so keeping them away is a good idea.