PARSIPPANY — For the past several days, dead fish have been washing up along the shoreline of Lake Parsippany. The cause is currently uncertain, but fish and game experts suspect the cause is possibly “winterkill.”
Winterkill is a term used to describe the loss of fish over the winter because dissolved oxygen was lacking in a waterbody. Submerged vegetation and algae create oxygen through the process of photosynthesis. During the winter, oxygen production is often reduced because growing ice cover and accumulating snow on the lake limit the amount of sunlight reaching vegetation. In small, shallow lakes the available oxygen can quickly be used up by fish and by bacteria that feed on dead and decaying vegetation during the process of decompositions. When the oxygen level declines, less tolerant fish species, and fish in poor condition overall, can begin to suffocate and die.
Winterkill is a natural process and not all results are detrimental. It should be noted that Lake Parsippany was stocked with fish this past weekend.
Parsippany Focus did observe what appear to be oil booms in the water. It is unknown if any oil in the water contributed to the fishes demise.
A spokesperson for Lake Parsippany Property Owners Association said “It is a normal occurrence each year. We experienced a very cold winter and the fish get stressed.”