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‘Natural’ kill leaves over 130K fish dead at Cedar Lake in Olathe, preliminary data indicates

Kill likely due to low concentrations of dissolved oxygen in the water
Cedar Lake Olathe Fish Kill 1.jpg
Cedar Lake Olathe Fish Kill.jpg
Posted at 2:40 PM, Jun 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-02 17:36:06-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As many as 130,000 fish died in a “natural fish kill” Friday at Cedar Lake in Olathe, according to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

The department said the number is based on preliminary estimates from fishery biologists.

A KDWP spokesperson said the estimates were extrapolated from smaller counts done across the lake.

Fish species impacted include largemouth bass, black bullheads, crappie, channel catfish, bluegills/sunfish and shad.

While those around the lake, located just west of Interstate 35 and West 159th Street, might smell an odor, there is no other threat to the public.

The Olathe Parks and Recreation Department and the KDWP are working to investigate the exact cause.

A spokesperson with KDWP says low concentrations of dissolved oxygen in the lake are the likely cause of the kill, with the low levels likely made worse by recent warm nights, warm water temperatures, shallow water and sudden rain after a dry spell, among other reasons.

“We will continue to monitor the situation in the coming days,” the city said on social media. “Thank you for your patience and understanding.”

The lake was set to host the Olathe Fishing Derby Saturday, but the event was canceled as a result of the fish kill. A make-up date has not yet been announced.