Sept. 20, 2017
"The unfortunate widespread impacts of Hurricane Irma have affected every resident that calls Florida home. In the aftermath, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) dispatched staff to conduct reconnaissance throughout the 16 counties we serve and immediately began recovery efforts. During this period, our staff in the field identified a fish kill along the C-24 Canal in St. Lucie County.
"Following proper protocols, SFWMD reported the incident to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) through the agency's Fish Kill Hotline. Serving as the lead for all Florida fish kills, FWC provides expert information to the public on fish health related issues, documents and tracks reported fish kills and disease events and initiates governmental event response as needed.
"FWC's investigation into the fish kill along the C-24 Canal has been completed, and their analysis has concluded the cause of death to be oxygen depletion. This occurs when extreme weather conditions result in excess stormwater runoff causing sediment suspension in a canal or waterbody. The disturbance and suspension of these materials leads to a depletion of oxygen in the water column resulting in the observed fish kill. While visibly jarring, this cause-of-death determination poses no threat to humans.
"When the sight and smell of dead fish is pervasive in a community, our agency understands that you as a taxpayer want this matter handled immediately. Though a fish-kill cleanup is not part of our normal mission protocols, SFWMD and the FWC are stepping up to resolve this situation. Both agencies will work through today and make every effort to remove the fish and clean up the canal.
"SFWMD teams have been working 24/7 before, during and after Hurricane Irma to restore operations and maintain canal capacity to keep water flowing away from properties throughout our 16-county region. We pride ourselves on being responsive to community needs to help Florida citizens whenever and wherever possible."