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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)– The past few days at Greenfield Lake may not have been the most relaxing for park visitors. Dead fish and vegetation have surrounded the outskirts of the lake all weekend, affecting both the sights and the smells.

Wilmington Parks and Rec workers say the problem all stems from the weather. They say the heat the past few weeks has severely lowered the oxygen levels in the lake, causing many of its fish to die.

For those who visit the park, they say they have never seen it quite this bad despite hot summers in the past.

“A lot of my friends come and fish here. I love to fish myself and I don’t like seeing all the dead fish,” said park visitor Peter Gorman. “It bothers me quite a bit.”

Other park visitors say they might avoid the park all together for a while to avoid the sights and smells.

City Parks and Rec workers say there was a pump turned on Saturday to help circulate oxygen in the water. They say the dead fish should all be cleaned up by Monday.

Comment on this Story

  • Guestwho

    I’m not sure if the City workers you spoke with were speaking out of ignorance or politics or both but heat was not the root cause of this fish kill. Do you really believe aquatic ecosystems loose all there oxygen when it’s really hot for a couple weeks? if this were true why aren’t there fish kills in every freshwater body in the city, county or state? Heat waves are a natural occurnace and healthy aquatic ecosyytems survive them every day.

    The culprit is nutrient imput. Next time you drive through Glenn Meade or hitting the back nine at Cape Fear Country Club’s golf course (all directly drain into the GF Lake watershed) think about how many pounds of nitrogen, phosphorus and other fertilizing nutrients are added to that beautifaul green grass every year (especially the summer). Now add all that dog and duck poop (though a much smaller and more natural nutrient input). Nutients spike + Sunshine = algal blooms in GF lake. When the algae blooms all at once in the lake, guess what happens later… it all dies at once. The decay of the massive algal bloom in the Lake depleated the dissolved oxygen causing the fish kill. The heat wave was probably a catlyst but not the root cause. Nutrients are the cause.

    If you want to understand fish kills don’t interview the Parks and Rec Dept. Interview the Aqutic Ecology Laboratory at UNCW-CMS. They have done MANY studies on this topic including on GF Lake.

  • Guest2020

    They wouldn’t really have to interview anyone in that department. Just about any regular Joe on the street knows that the heat alone wouldn’t cause a fish kill like that.

    By the way, your knowledge on the matter is rather impressive.

  • Guesttoo

    Guestwho…perhaps you should try your hand at reporting for WWAY? This was a well written piece that actually addressed the issue. The prolonged heat didn’t cause the problem, it just magnified the one that was already there.

    WE…and our practices are the problem. Can’t do much about the heat but we CAN control what goes into the lake…

  • Mike Lanier

    Very well put, but there are other factors affecting the dissolved oxygen in Greenfield Lake that only worsen the root cause due to over-eutrophication that you described. The cities’ use of chemicals to poison all of the oxygen producing submergent vegetation (both native and non-native varieties) has exponentially affected the amount of dissolved oxygen necessary to maintain aquatic life in an already stressed system. Although the submergent vegetation was completely eradicated last summer, it is evident that the emergent vegetation along the shoreline is now being sprayed. With surface water temperatures in the upper 80’s to low 90’s, essentially no fresh water flowing through the system and a heat wave, not the time to be spraying chemicals in the water. Lastly, I haven’t seen the aereators working on any of my recent outings to the lake, and with them being solar powered, I assume they don’t run at night anyway when the dissolved oxygen is at its’ lowest and aereation is needed most.

  • DisGuestedly

    Here’s a thought. Instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on feasibility studies for baseball, why not throw some money into what could be good city draws such as Greenfield Lake? The city council is just like a child…always looking for the next new shiny toy and leaving the old ones outside to rot.

  • Justin

    So, why isn’t the City of Wilmington utilizing their huge, expensive lake oxygenators purchased several years ago? We hoped to paddle around the lake yesterday, but the boat ramp was littered with too many dead and dying fish…and , despite the city acknowledging the lack of oxygen in the water, the oxygenators were not operating at the back or front of the lake…nor were the fountains that also help to add critical oxygen to the water.


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