Lake Auburn: 2012 Fish Kill

Because the deeper portions of the lake normally remain cold and with ample oxygen for fish throughout the year, Lake Auburn supports a cold-water fishery with land-locked salmon and lake trout (togue). In the last decade, there have been periods of low or no oxygen (hypoxia) in the late summer and early fall in the deepest portion of the lake. In 2012, this low-oxygen area was large and the surface water was still warm, leaving no cold-water refuge with abundant oxygen, so several hundred fish died. Most were lake trout, and they ranged in size up to about 75 cm (30 inches). Many were females with eggs. The large area of low-oxygen water was a result of the decomposition of a large algal bloom. Both the large algal bloom and the warm surface waters were likely partly a result of a short period of ice cover the previous winter and a warm summer.   High nutrient concentrations in the lake also contributed to the algal bloom. Closer tracking of the physical, chemical, and biological condition of the lake have followed since the fish kill, and the buoy is part of that monitoring system.

An op-ed about this event can be found here:

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