STERLING, Kansas – During the summer toxic blue-green algae can shut-down lakes, but for one town in central Kansas, the problem was ordinary green algae.
Things started looking different at Sterling Lake on Tuesday, fish were floating to the top of the lake. By Wednesday, thousands of dead fish covered the lake.
“It was definitely unexpected you know anything like this is unfortunate, not something that we’re always looking for but we definitely are prepared and we know how to handle it,” said Taggart Wall, City Manager in Sterling.
Too much green algae was smothering the top of the lake, cutting off the oxygen and killing the fish.
Crews have been working for two days to clear the banks of the fish.
“I mean it comes with the job, it’s just kinda sad that you have to do it, sad that everything dies but you gotta do what you gotta do to get ready for the Fourth of July,” said Cole Slupski, who was working on cleaning up the fish.
Sterling city officials are now working to get rid of the algae using pumps to agitate the water, and pumping fresh water into the lake.
“We’re getting a little help from mother nature today because of the wind, the algae needs to be moved around and broken up because it creates a barrier at the surface of the water to create oxygen in the water,” said Wall.
The City of Sterling has already got together with the Kansas Department of Parks and Wildlife with plans to restock the pond this fall.
“Unfortunately we’ve lost thousands of fish here at the lake and we’ve talked with Kansas Wildlife about how we’re going to methodically reintroduce the fish population into the lake,” said Wall.
Crews from the City of Sterling are working to finish cleaning up the lake and getting it ready for the Fourth of July.