Nearly 300 Fish Killed in California Park, Officials Investigating

by Chris Haney

Earlier this week, local officials in Sacramento, California received reports of hundreds of dead fish in a regional park’s pond. Upwards of 300 fish were found dead, and officials don’t know what caused it.

On Monday, the city of Sacramento’s Department of Utilities was notified about the strange occurrence. Locals that frequent North Natomas Regional Park called the department to report the hundreds of dead fish. According to an article from local news station KCRA 3, the majority of the fish are carp.

City officials shared that the pond in the regional park is a stormwater retention basin, which is known as “Basin 1.” The mysterious death of so many fish is under investigation. But until officials figure out what’s wrong, they’ve isolated the water supply from Basin 1 from other waterways.

Workers for the city of Sacramento began to remove the dead fish from the pond on Monday night. The clean-up then continued throughout Tuesday as the crew utilized trucks and a boat to remove the carp. KCRA 3 spoke with Carlos Eliason, the media and communications specialist for the Department of Utilities, about the mysterious scene.

“Staff have tested the water at the retention basin and have determined that very low levels of dissolved oxygen were present,” Eliason told KCRA 3. “Additionally, staff have sent samples of the water to be tested for harmful algae blooms and expect to receive results by Friday.”

Unfortunately for residents who frequent the park, the smell of dead fish is impacting the area. Some shared concerns with the outlet, like Jim Swan who lives in the neighborhood.

“It’s a foul smell,” Swan said. “To see mother nature or some imbalance taking [the fish] out is a really sad thing.”

Deadly Red Tides Kill ‘Uncountable’ Number of Fish in San Francisco Bay

Sacramento isn’t the only city in California that’s dealt with a mass amount of dead fish recently. In fact, a red tide caused an “uncountable” amount of dead fish to wash up in San Francisco Bay earlier this month.

According to Field & Stream, a toxic algae bloom known as Heterosigma akashiwo causes what we know as red tides. And the toxic algae has left tens of thousands of dead fish in San Francisco Bay. While the red tides aren’t deadly to humans, they can be fatal to various forms of sea life. Additionally, the outlet shared that red tides are a constant in the San Francisco Bay. However, the area hasn’t dealt with one this severe since 2004.

San Francisco Baykeeper shared a press release about the red tide and its impact on the area. The release placed the blame squarely on humans.

“Treated sewage discharges from the Bay’s 40 sewage treatment plants and the pollutants from five dirty oil refineries create conditions ideal for algal blooms,” the press release says.

“Baykeeper scientists have been actively working for the past five years through agency technical advisory committees to prevent large blooms of any number of potentially toxic microorganisms from becoming commonplace in the Bay,” it said.

The press release from SF Baykeeper also specifically called on the Regional Water Board to help contain the red tide. The group says the department should start by getting “excessive sewage and refinery discharges under control.” They also called out city officials saying, “Bay Area cities need to invest in water recycling to keep wastewater out of the Bay in the first place.”

“Hopefully this is a wakeup call,” the press release concluded.