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By Amy Compney/City Editor

Officials with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources are investigating the death of thousands of fish. About 3,300 fish were found dead Friday at the warm water arm of Thomas Hill Lake.

The cause of the massive fish kill is still unknown but Brian Todd, Fisheries Regional Supervisor for the Missouri Department of Conservation, said elevated temperatures may have been the culprit. Increased seasonal temperatures coupled with normal warm-water discharge at the plant are probably to blame; Friday evening the water temperature in the warm water discharge area was about 90 degrees, Todd said. However, it is not unusual for water temperatures to be that high.

Todd explained that the Thomas Hill power plant has an intake on one side of the plant where they bring cool water in and use it to cool their electrical generating engines. They discharge warm water, which is why they built the lake, he said.

“We still don't know the cause, but this is normal power plant operations,†Todd said.

There has never been a fish kill of this magnitude at the lake according to Todd. But fish kills have happened there in the past, he said. Roughly two thirds of the 3,300 fish killed were small catfish. Other species killed included channel catfish, flathead catfish, bluegill sunfish, large mouth bass, fresh water drum, crappie and gizard shad.

Though the number of fish dead is quite large, Todd said the incident is really no big deal.

“We aren't concerned, but we're taking it seriously,†he said.

There is no ban on fishing, swimming or other water recreation at the lake as the investigation progresses.
 

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I spoke with a Conservation Agent today and they are now thinking that due to the power plant turning on the third turban that the water temperature went up several degrees causing the kill. Most of the fish were small fish and it only affected the warm water arm.
 
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