Fish die-off at Diana Bend Conservation Area near Rocheport

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HOWARD COUNTY, Mo. – The Diana Bend Conservation Area's wetland pool near the wildlife viewing blind in Rocheport is experiencing a natural fish kill due to the lack of oxygen in the water explained experts from the Missouri Department of Conservation.

"Through much of the summer the Missouri River was near flood stage," said MDC Wildlife Regional Supervisor John George. "As a result, Diana Bend had a lot of water on it through the middle of August. Once the river levels dropped, fish became trapped in the wetlands. As the wetlands shrank over time, the fish that remained there were confined to a smaller pool. When the pool got low, the fish died due to the lack of oxygen in the water."

He added that this is normal in floodplain pools. "Although it seems like a strange event, it is completely natural," George said.

He added that it's important to remember that this process can go on for a few weeks and the area will have bad odors as the fish decompose.

The fish that are dying are mostly carp, which are quick to exploit newly flooded habitats. They then become food for other wildlife and nutrients for the soil when they can't get back to the river.

For more information on Diana Bend, visit the MDC online conservation area atlas at