New Yorkers may be seeing more dead fish in the water this spring than in past years. The winter of 2020-2021 created optimal conditions for winterkills, which usually occur in shallow waterbodies with aquatic plant growth.
Winterkill occurs when snow that accumulates on the ice reduces the amount of light penetrating through the water, inhibiting the photosynthesis cycle in plants and reducing the amount of oxygen (a byproduct of the cycle) available to fish and other organisms. The problem is exacerbated when fish die, as the decomposition process also consumes any available oxygen in the pond.
To report a fish kill contact your Regional DEC Fisheries Office.