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Storm also brings fish kills
The tornado-spawning storm washed nutrients intoponds. Absorbing those uses oxygen fish would breathe.
By MOLLY MOORHEAD, Times Staff Writer
Published December 20, 2007
Rotting fish float in a tidal pond Wednesday near the bank of Carl Wolfe's Beacon Square home on Moog Road in Holiday. Wolfe began noticing the fish Monday. He doesn't know the cause, but he does know the stench is overpowering. He says he can stomach about a half hour each day raking fish to shore for vultures to eat.
[Stephen J. Coddington | Times]
HOLIDAY - Carl Wolfe has awakened the past few mornings and put a mask over his face.
Rake in hand, he has walked out to his back yard and gone about sweeping up the mass of stinky, bloated fish carcasses that have collected in the retention pond behind his house on Moog Road.
"It's like breathing ammonia," Wolfe, who is 62 and retired, said Wednesday.
The fish kill in the normally picturesque retention pond was probably caused by the weekend's squalls that moved in from the Gulf of Mexico and spawned a tornado in central Pasco, said Gary Morse, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.
As unpleasant as it is, there's nothing unnatural about it.
He said it starts when rainstorms wash additional nutrients into bodies of water.
"Nature responds by increasing the rate at which those things are broken down, and it uses dissolved oxygen in the water," he said. That can make it impossible for fish to breathe.
"The biological system uses oxygen faster than it can make it," he said.
Such fish kills are fairly common in Florida, particularly after a hard rain.
But in the 26 years Wolfe has lived in the house, he has only seen dead fish turn up twice: last year and now.
He's raking them into his yard to help the vultures - that won't venture into the water - do their work.
They are the best cleanup mechanism, Morse said.
"You'll see birds come in, and maybe other critters, and start to do the natural thing and start to clean this up," he said.
So how much more of this "natural thing" do Wolfe and his neighbors have to endure?
Not much. Most kills last three to four days, Morse said: