This Winter Is Killing Missouri's Fish

Categories: Animals

USACE HQ on Flickr
The American shad fish.
But this winter wasn't just unusually cold; it was also unusually icy and snowy. The Lake of the Ozarks was a solid sheet of ice from the Bagnell Dam to the Truman Dam in January, which is very rare, says conservation department biologist Greg Stoner.

On top of the ice, winter storms brought heavy snowfall, sometimes more than a foot overnight.

"Deep snow can prevent light from reaching aquatic plants," says O'Hearn. "Without light, plants begin to die, and when they die, they not only are not releasing oxygen into the water, their decomposition actually consumes oxygen. If that goes on for long enough, like it has this year, fish can suffocate."

See also: Coyotes on Chippewa: City Gets Report of Wild Animals in South St. Louis

The largest impact on Missouri, the conservation department says, is a temporary food shortage this spring for game fish that eat the smallest shad.

See a particularly large group of dead fish in your neighborhood? Call the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' environmental emergency response line at 573-634-2436.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at

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