You’d normally rule this to be in the category of odd news. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Thousands of fish are dead in the Midwest, all because of the sizzling hot temperatures.
Summer 2012 is one like only a few before. It’s been so hot now that water in some Midwest rivers reached temperatures of 100 degrees. So if you imagined a walk in the nature would help survive that scorching heat that melts cities, you’d better think twice. Not only you might find it difficult to enjoy relief from sizzling hot temperatures, but you might end up with a horrific story to tell friends and people at work.
Because of the summer heat, thousands of fish have died in the Midwest. Authorities in Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois say thousands of fish were found dead after water temperatures reached staggering levels.
In Iowa, temperatures in the water reached almost 100 degrees last week. Authorities say it was the 97 degrees in the water that managed to kill about 40,000 shovelnose sturgeons. Officials with fisheries in Nebraska say they found thousands of fish dead, including an endangered pallid sturgeon. In Illinois, authorities say hot temperatures are putting at risk a state-endangered species, the greater redhorse fish.
When making some back-of-the-envelope calculations, it becomes clear we’re not talking just about thousands of fish dead in all Midwest. Researchers say if hot temperatures continue, we’re going to see millions of fish dead in the Midwest floating on rivers.
“We’re talking hundreds of thousands (killed) maybe millions by now” said Dan Stephenson, biologist with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. “If you’re only talking about game fish, it’s probably in the thousands. But for all fish, it’s probably in the millions if you look statewide” he added.
“It’s something I’ve never seen in my career, and I’ve been here for more than 17 years” said fishery biologist Mark Flammang. “I think what we’re mainly dealing with here are the extremely low flows and this unparalleled heat” he added.
At a first glance, it might not seem like thousands of fish dead are much of an expense. But according to an estimate by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the drought is causing more damage than imagined. The thousands of fish that died in the Midwest are estimated to be worth almost $10 million.