LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)—Workers at the Moncus Park at the Horse Farm were surprised to find thousands of dead fish in the parks coulee.
Director of Lafayette Central Park, Elizabeth Brooks said thousands of fish died, but there are “thousands and thousands more still alive.”
Wildlife and fisheries said the death of all these fish is a byproduct of receding floodwaters, however, they are still investigating the phenomenon.
“What’s happening is the water temperature is high, about the mid-80s,” Said Jody David with Wildlife and Fisheries, “The ones [fish] that did leave, they left, but they still have some [fish] that’s in there and they’re basically trapped and the oxygen level is failing and therefore the fish are going to perish.”
David said the majority of the dead fish are buffalo fish, freshwater drum and a few catfish.
The fish that are still alive appear to be swimming upstream of the Coulee Mine which drains into the Vermillion River, officials said.
“Last night’s rain I think helped a little bit because I think it created a little bit more oxygen in the water,” Said Brooks, “But it’s not enough. They’re definitely gasping for air.”
The fish gasping for air and the smell wafting through the air has some residents concerned, “I really hope these fish corpses don’t just sit here indefinitely because that doesn’t seem safe.” Said Rozanne Macmanus.
Officials said not much can be done for now adding it’s simply a matter of waiting for nature to take its course.
According to Brooks, the park is still safe to visit, she just doesn’t recommend fishing in the coulee anytime soon.