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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Folks trying to enjoy a day at the lake got a nasty surprise. Turns out this heat isn’t just making us sweat, it’s killing dozens of fish in Greenfield Lake.

Experts say runoff from areas around the city, which includes things like pet waste, pesticides and fertilizers, promote algae growth in the lake, which diminishes oxygen for the fish. But this extreme heat has just been a catalyst for the problem.

“This is a classic summertime fish kill. That hot weather makes it really difficult for everything in the lake to breathe,” said Kay Lynn Plummer-Hernandez, a wildlife biologist and education specialist with Cape Fear River Watch.

She said the health of Greenfield Lake directly impacts the health of the river, because it acts as a sort of filter.

Right now the lake is not doing so well.

“It’s stinky, stink, stink,” lake visitor Alethea Hudley said.

“It’s gross,” said Madison Grant, who visited the lake with her summer camp from Delco. Her teacher Gwen Williams said the stinky surprise was not what the group was hoping for.

“We were very disappointed that the fish kind of spoiled it for us, but we made the best of it,” Williams said.

Plummer-Hernandez said the city is trying to make the best of it, too. It added an extra filtration system, are running airboats that circulate the water and are scooping up the dead fish. The lake also has five SolarBees, which are solar-powered fans on the bottom of the lake that constantly turn and stir up oxygen. But Plummer-Hernandez says they just aren’t enough with the lack of rain and abundance of heat.

“Pray for rain and cooler weather, which seems to be on the way,” Plummer-Hernandez said. “Hopefully Greenfield Lake will be a nicer place to come to within a week or two.”


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