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Pond ‘turns over,’ kills fish at Easy Walker Park


By Tom Marshall
Senior Advocate writer

The public will have to put off fishing for a while at Easy Walker Park.
The pond there suffered a substantial fish kill over the weekend resulting from a common occurrence known as “turnover.”

“This is just a natural occurrence,” Dane Balsam, urban fisheries biologist with the Kentucky Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Resources, told the Advocate. “Conditions were just right with the heat and hot weather like we had and then a few cool, cloudy days together.”

The result was an “oxygen crash” that resulted in the fish dying, Balsam said.
Turnover occurs when hot weather shifts to cooler weather, killing algae blooms, he explained. When all that occurs the decomposition uses up all the oxygen in the pond and the fish suffocate.

Balsam said he had similar calls this week about the same thing occurring with ponds in locations all across the state.

Staff from the Fish and Wildlife Office in Morehead were on site at Easy Walker this week cleaning up the dead fish for the parks and recreation dept.

Fish and Wildlife will also do some sampling to ensure the survivability of any other fish that are restocked there, Balsam said.
“People need to understand that it will take the lake a couple of years to recover and get back to what it was before,” he said.

When possible, Balsam said Fish and Wildlife will restock bass and bluegill throughout late summer and early fall. The pond is also stocked with catfish and trout periodically throughout the year, he said.

Parks and Rec Director Patrick Manning said the problem was first discovered Saturday morning and so he contacted Fish and Wildlife.
Gary Hamilton, Montgomery County Extension Agent for agriculture and natural resources, said turnover is not uncommon for anyone who owns a pond and they eventually rebound.

The pond at Botts Park is aerated with a fountain so it did not turn over, officials said. There are some fish stocked in that pond.