Toxic algae kills 10,000 kokanee in Lake Koocanusa

Wildlife News
August 31, 2013 6:00 am  • 

LIBBY MONTANA – At least 10,000 kokanee salmon were killed this week after a strong and fast-moving storm front Sunday churned up the waters of Lake Koocanusa.

The die-off appears to have been triggered by a period of hot, calm weather that allowed the reservoir to stratify, and algae to bloom, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

When the storm front and winds moved through, accompanied by a drop in atmospheric pressure, the algae mixed with deeper layers of water.

FWP fisheries biologist Mike Hensler says the kokanee ingest the algae, which includes some blue-green algae, as they feed.

The blue-green algae is toxic to fish.

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