DEC: Fish probably died of natural causes
Thursday, August 19, 2010

By Cecelia Martinez
The Record

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation said Thursday that a fish kill at Cooper’s Lake was most likely the result of natural causes and that there does not appear to be any human involvement in the death of approximately 1,000 fish.

“At this point, we don’t believe that to be the case,” said DEC Region 4 spokesperson Rick Georgeson. According to Georgeson, the dead fish were reported to the DEC last week, and tests done at the scene showed low oxygen levels in the water. Cooper’s Lake, actually a pond about 8 acres large and four feet deep, is located off of Sycaway Avenue between Lisa Lane and Ledgestone Road.

Georgeson said that warm-water species of sunfish and crappies were found dead. A biologist inspecting the site also found a very decomposed dead animal the size of a beaver, but it is unclear how that animal died. Georgeson said that low oxygen levels could be caused by a wide variety of factors, but said that in this case it was most likely a combination of warm temperatures and water runoff.

“This happens a lot in the summertime with these ponds that get a lot of weed growth,” said Georgeson. “The weeds die, and when they decompose that takes up the oxygen in the water so the oxygen is not available to the fish. It will happen at the end summer when you have warm weather and plants dying off, especially in a pond like this that is stressed already because it’s in a urban area and the runoff isn’t the cleanest.” The pond is located near Route 7.

Georgeson said that the town of Brunswick owns a large portion of the pond, and that it appears there is public access available. Locals have also been known to fish at the pond, but it doesn’t appear that the pond is used for swimming.