KIMT News 3 – The snow is melting but the ice is still far behind, leaving area waterways and fish in jeopardy.
Throughout Iowa, thick sheets of ice are causing low oxygen levels along waterways.
Iowa Department of Natural Resource specialists say we haven’t seen a winter with ice build-up like this since 2008.
Aeration systems are now in place in a few area lakes to give extra oxygen, but experts say this is not a guarantee that winter-kill won’t occur.
“When we have winters like this that go for a long period with thick ice and snow cover, you lose the sunlight penetration so you kind of have to live with with what oxygen you have and some water bodies can experience a decline,” said Scott Grummer, Iowa DNR Fishery Biologist.
Despite spring only days away, reports show some area lakes have as much as 30 inches of ice above water.
“Right now and north-central Iowa, things are looking pretty decent for the most part. We have a few small water bodies. Eldridge park, Indian Lake down in Hancock county and Clark Lake south of Mason City, we expect some winter loss of fish in those two water bodies,” said Grummer.
DNR specialists say they’re also keeping an eye on lowered water levels from last years late drought that could also effect fishing populations.