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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Sun rays guilty in slaying of fish in lake

One fish, two fish, red fish ... dead fish?

It may not be the traditional rhyme, but it's the accurate one when it comes to describing southwest Gainesville.

The recent sun and high temperatures are killing fish in Bivens Arm Lake.

Alachua County Environmental Protection Director Chris Bird said prolonged sun and high temperatures raise the lake's temperature and reduce oxygen in the water. reports southwest Gainesville has had five completely sunny days so far in May. The average high temperature has been about 89 degrees.

"Bivens Arm is the most vulnerable area lake to ‘heat stress' fish kills because it is very shallow and prone to algal blooms, which further reduce dissolved oxygen levels," Bird said.

He also said Bivens Arm Lake is polluted from urban runoff and dirt that come through the Tumblin Creek watershed.

New construction causes a net improvement to the watershed because it brings better storm water treatment basins.

Most of the buildings in downtown Gainesville and on University Avenue, Bird said, do not have updated treatment.

"That lake has decades of muck that's built up in it," he said.

The combination of these factors has been killing gizzard shad, catfish and bream.

Although Bivens Arm Lake isn't known as a fishing spot, Bird said locals will probably take advantage of the fish kill.

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He expects to see turkey vultures and alligators migrating to the area to clear out the dead fish.

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