Lake in Great Bend dealing with massive fish-kill

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GREAT BEND -- The spread of blue-green algae is blamed for a large scale fish kill at Veteran's Lake in Great Bend. It's one of ten Kansas lakes now under the blue-green algae warning from the Department of Health and Environment.

Great Bend city workers pulled thousands of dead fish from Veteran's Lake Thursday and Friday and thousands still remain. As each hour passes the blue-green algae problem seems to get worse.

"We've lost carp, cat fish, bass, crappie, perch you name it," said Great Bend Director of Public Lands, Terry Hoff.
"Even the minnows, it's pretty rare anything like this happens around here."

It's not just a danger for fish, signs are posted around the pond warning people to stay out of the toxic water.

Hoff said this is a serious issue. "It can cause gastrointestinal disease, it can cause rashes it can be harmful to both people as well as pets."

Gary Bauer brought his two grand kids to the lake, but said this issue isn't new.

"It don't make us feel real good because we would like to go play in the lake and do a little fishing because there is worthy fish in here to catch for little kids," said Bauer.

The problem spans across the entire lake, it even has a bluish-green tint to it.

The city placed several machines in the lake to pump oxygen into the water, but that hasn't seemed to help.

"For whatever reason I don't think those diffusers can keep up with the problem at this particular point," said Hoff.

The city believes the problem is worse than ever before because of high phosphorus levels in the water caused by storm runoff and a huge geese population on the lake. It might cost the lake all of its fish.

"We want to reclaim it and intervene. If we can do it safely so it's not going to have an impact on people, on the wildlife in the lake or anything like that," added Hoff.

Officials said it is still OK to fish at the lake and even eat the fish you catch. Make sure to filet the fish, clean them with clean water and through out the remains.

Hoff said they've hired a private consultant to help them figure out how to deal with this issue. They expect the problem to cost more than ten thousand dollars.


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