MDC investigates reported fish kill on the Grand Glaize arm of the Lake of the Ozarks

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COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) received several reports earlier this week of a fish kill event on the Grand Glaize arm of the Lake of the Ozarks. An investigation into the reports revealed that this was likely a natural fish kill event, and that there is no reason for concern.

Fish kill events can occur naturally in Missouri, and they are classified as the sudden death of fish that occurs in a lake or stream. Each year, MDC handles around 100 fish kills and other water quality events that pose a threat to fish, wildlife, and recreation. Of these events, 75-80% are caused by natural events, as is the case with this fish kill at the Lake of the Ozarks. The rest of these events are caused by pollution, chlorinated drinking water, or chemical spills that contaminate the waterways.

In this particular instance, it was determined that a backwater upstream likely ran out of water and dissolved oxygen, killing the fish. Then, in the recent rainfall, these fish were flushed downstream into the Grand Glaize arm of the Lake of the Ozarks. Events like this are not uncommon during times of drought when dissolved oxygen levels in the water are at risk of dropping, and they pose no environmental threat to humans.

In the aftermath of a fish kill, nature will take its course and allow the decomposition process to take place. Nutrients from this process will be fed back into the ecosystem, benefiting the local plants and animals. While this may not be a pretty sight to look at, it is best for the environment to let the process run its course. Any living fish in the area are safe to catch and consume.

MDC asks that the public reports suspected fish kills here: