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  • Last modified 2230 days ago (Aug. 16, 2012)

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Fish in danger from drought

Staff writer

A farm pond in rural Hillsboro was the site of a fish decimation on Aug. 6.

About 50 fish lined the shores of the murky green water. The smell radiated from the scene like lines of heat burning a putrid, acrid rotting stench deep into the nostrils. The aquatic animals had been dead for a while. Their killer was drought.

Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks biologist Jeff Rue said fish and their stationary predators — muskrats and beavers — have been hardest hit by the summer droughts taking place the past two years.

Some animals are thriving under the conditions. Blacktail jackrabbits, coyotes, and mourning doves are thriving because they are adaptable to many climates.

Rue said it was still too early to tell if upland birds and water fowl also may be affected by the drought and heat. If the weather does not significantly change, he said upland birds will decrease in numbers for hunting season. Water fowl would be likely to migrate somewhere else.

Although there has not been a registered case in Kansas of yet, the worry for deer is epizootic hemmorhagic disease. EHD is transferred by midges that pick up the virus in stagnant pools of water. Either a hard rain fall or the first freeze would take the changes of EHD occurring down considerably, Rue said. The disease only affects deer and not livestock or domesticated animals.

Last modified Aug. 16, 2012

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