MDC monitors fish kill in Kansas City's Brush Creek

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Kansas City
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Kansas City, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is monitoring a fish kill in Kansas City’s Brush Creek. The event apparently started June 12. MDC was notified on June 14 and began monitoring the creek.

The fish kill affected 4.1 miles of the stream, said Jake Colehour, MDC fisheries management biologist. Dead fish were found from Belleview Avenue in the Country Club Plaza to an area downstream of Elmwood Avenue. Colehour estimates the event killed 1,900 common carp, 240 silver carp, and 50,000 sunfish.

All the large carp were found in a pool or pond area between two concrete weirs from Bruce R. Watkins Drive to downstream of Elmwood Avenue. Colehour said a heavy rain event in the area on June 11 may have raised water levels and caused the carp to swim upstream into that area. When water levels dropped, they could not swim back out to the Blue River, which connects with the Missouri River.

Biologists say concrete structures in the creek sometimes create stagnant water conditions with high water temperatures and low oxygen levels than can trigger fish die offs, especially in summer.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) tested the water and is also investigating the fish kill. DNR will determine the cause. Kansas City Parks and Recreation maintains a greenway and trails along Brush Creek.

Every year, statewide, MDC handles about 200 fish kills and other water quality events that pose a threat to fish, wildlife, and recreation. Half are caused by natural events and the rest by pollution. MDC partners with Missouri DNR to investigate fish kills in our streams, rivers, and lakes and ensure that water quality is restored.

To report a fish kill, visit