Floodwaters cause natural fish kill along Missouri River in central Missouri

RDN REPORTS
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Fluctuating floodwater and river levels are causing natural fish kills along the Missouri River floodplain. Most species impacted are invasive and will provide food for native wildlife.

The Missouri Department of Conservation investigated multiple reports of a large fish kill event just west of Columbia, along Interstate 70 and the Missouri River floodplain.

MDC has determined this large die-off of mostly nonnative, invasive silver carp, was caused by receding floodwaters.

“As floodwaters receded, many fish did not return to the river, but stayed in pools in the floodplain,” said MDC Resource Science Assistant Steffanie Abel. “As the water level in these pools naturally declines, the water temperature increases and dissolved oxygen decreases, resulting in a fish kill."

If new rain falls and river levels rise, these pools could refill with floodwater and live fish, and the die-off event could be repeated.

Though witnessing such a large number of dead fish can be alarming, these fish-kill events will feed other wildlife species, help to control populations of invasive silver carp, and carcasses provide beneficial nutrients back to the soil.

For more information about fish kills, including when and how to report one, visit mdc.mo.gov/fishing/protect-missouri-fishing/fish-kills.