Massive fish kill at Indian River Lagoon

Authorities in Brevard County are puzzled over dead fish that have appeared in the Indian River Lagoon.

Cleanup began on Monday morning to remove any dead fish spotted on the shorelines of county parks and any affected county-owned waterfront property. The cleanup is being organized by Parks and Recreation.

"Natural Resources Management is conducting water tests to determine the source of the fish kill, which was first discovered on Friday. The Florida Fish and Wildlife officials are also involved," said Don Walker, a spokesman for the county.  

Initial findings point to an algae bloom generated by warm conditions and high nutrients in the lagoon last week.  "There are a lot of nutrients in the water, causing the algae to bloom. When the local nutrients are depleted and the algae starts to decompose the dissolved oxygen drops to a level that killed some fish," said Terry Williamson, a biologist with Natural Resources. "The high winds we're having today should help mix the water in the lagoon and get the oxygen levels back up." 

Williamson said residents can play a role in helping avoid fish kills. That includes keeping leaves and grass clippings out of storm drains and following the county's fertilizer ordinance.