Ancient sturgeon part of fish die off at Lake


On April 13, 2023, Standish resident Sean Connaughty found a giant, six-foot-long, ancient Lake Sturgeon dead at Lake Hiawatha. "It is one of the many, many dead fish found on the shore after the winter die off," he observed. "Lake Sturgeons can live over 150 years. This fish may have swum in Rice Lake before it was changed 96 years ago. ... Three years ago I saw this fish when it was alive. It really saddens me that we still haven't gotten it together after eight years of sounding the alarm. This loss was part of a large fish die-off that occurred due to confirmed high phosphorus concentrations and low oxygen levels at the lake over the winter. Pollution from pumping, the drought, a dry creek and the closure of the dam are contributors to this condition. Last summer saw persistent and severe algal blooms that persisted late into the fall. This eutrophication resulted in the low oxygen environment that killed the fish over the winter. It is unknown what the combined effects of the loss of the creek ecology over the summer, combined with the fish die off will have on the critical food web at Hiawatha - our most biodiverse lake in Minneapolis. Hiawatha Golf Course pumping discharges 368 pounds of phosphorus into Lake Hiawatha annually. The main stormsewer into the lake discharges 570 pounds of phosphorus annually also. The lake is listed by the PCA as impaired for phosphorus, and also bacteria. We asked the park board in November, and again in February, to install aeration. They refused." (Photo submitted)


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