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Lake manager: Fish kill in Wonder Lake offers long-term benefits

WONDER LAKE — While an influx of dead carp in the Wonder Lake area was a short-term inconvenience, the situation may have offered long-term benefits, according to the Master Property Owners Association.

The occurrence of dead carp floating toward and onto the shoreline had been garnering questions from residents over the past couple weeks, said lake manager Randy Stowe.

The height of the situation seems to have passed, Stowe added.

"They've pretty much stopped dying," he said. "There's still an occasional one out there."

It may have been a nuisance for the affected residents who were responsible for the disposal of the fish carcasses, but in Stowe's eyes, this was a good thing.

"Carp is the last thing we'd like to see in the lake because they're what we call 'bottom-feeders'," he said. "They muck up the bottom of the lake looking for things to eat in the sediment, which increases the muddiness of the water."

Generally, fish kills are relatively common occurrences, Stowe explained. When fish kills occur, it's usually the result of low oxygen levels after harsh winters.

Wonder Lake's most recent occurrence, however, doesn't necessarily fit the bill as carp don't have as much trouble in decreased oxygen as other species, he said.

In talking with the Department of Natural Resources, the Master Property Owners Association believes the harsh winter and fluctuating water temperatures caused stress to the carp during spawning activities, making them more vulnerable to an ever-present natural bacteria in the water.

"It's very common and it's a naturally-occurring bacteria," Stowe said. "It doesn't affect humans or pets or anything, but when carp are stressed, they're more vulnerable."

In the grand scheme of things, he added, their vulnerability will likely leave the lake in better condition.

If the situation is encountered again, fish carcass disposal information can be found at the association's website.

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