LDWF investigates fish kill at Bussey Brake Reservoir

(Photo courtesy Neal Allen DeForest)

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) was made aware of a fish kill at Bussey Brake Reservoir (located in Morehouse Parish) this weekend, and biologists conducted an extensive investigation on Sunday, Sept. 10, to determine the cause. They found that the extended periods of high temperatures coupled with a storm on Sept. 8 triggered a hypoxic fish kill in the northeast region of the reservoir near the boat launch and fishing piers.

What is a hypoxic fish kill?

Warm water has a lower carrying capacity for dissolved oxygen than cool water, straining an already delicate balance between oxygen-producing and oxygen-consuming aquatic life in waterbodies. When something alters that delicate balance, the scales can easily tip in the wrong direction and cause a hypoxic (low oxygen) fish kill.

Factors that can tip the balance include: low or stagnant water; extended excessive hot weather; heavy rainfall; extended cloudy weather; decaying debris/vegetation in the water; turbid runoff; or nutrient-laden runoff.

This type of fish kill is common during summer months in Louisiana, as the combination of hot temperatures and weather patterns can work together to reduce available dissolved oxygen in the water.

After a thorough investigation, biologists reported only localized impacts directly around the boat launch. There was no indication that the fish kill impacted the rest of the reservoir and the fishery is expected to recover naturally. Inland Fisheries biologists will continue to monitor Bussey Brake to provide the public with any updates.

Documenting fish kills in Louisiana is important whether caused by natural or non-natural events. Please report them to LDWF so biologists can investigate and document the kill as soon as possible. For information on how to report a fish kill or more information about the causes of fish kills, visit our fish kills webpage.

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