Low lake levels endanger Missouri fish

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. - A Missouri lake plagued by drought now faces a new challenge. Low levels have essentially ended boating at Lake Contrary near St. Joseph, Mo., and now fish are at risk.

"Any time that you have a low oxygen level, low lake and the water heating up, you will have fish kills," Joan Bennett, president of the Lake Contrary Development Association, said.

Bennett said levels are no more than three feet deep in most spots. So far, just a few fish have died.

But, Bennett said fish can be seen coming to the surface for oxygen, especially in the morning and at night.

Hundreds of thousands of fish have gone belly up in years past at Lake Contrary, so now Bennett is pumping in cold well water. Nearly three million gallons a day will cool down the fish and maintain lake levels.

The lake association has enough money to keep one pump running until October. If a second pump is activated, Bennett said the money will go away twice as fast.

Despite the challenges, Bennett remains optimistic Lake Contrary will see revitalization.

"This lake will come back against all odds. It always has," she said.

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