Community Conservation Clean Up in Minnesota

April 15, 2010


Lake Shetek Minnesota

I was looking through the paper this morning and say a picture of thousands of dead fish. The interesting part of the story was how the community bonded together to remove the dead fish, mainly carp, from Lake Shetek in Minnesota.

I have always appreciated when community members come together in conservation efforts. It is great to see and something that benefits the sport we all love.

Enjoy the article below from KSAX

‘SLAYTON, Minn. – Thousands of dead fish, mostly carp, float on Lake Shetek after one of the biggest winter kills in 60 years, according to community members, so they decided to clean up the lake themselves.

“It was a smelly, nasty job,” John Nelson said.

Nelson lives on Lake Shetek and has for years. He’s one of many volunteers who decided they needed to take action Monday.

“This is by far the worst I’ve seen it, and I’ve been around this lake for 60 plus years,” Nelson said.

Volunteers in the community took action Monday. They spent hours wading through the water, scooping up ten pound carp by hand or with pitch forks, putting them in baskets and hauling them away.

“It was a monumental task. We had an awful lot of good people that spend all day in there water,” Nelson said. “We had to do something.”

A couple days later there are still a few fish floating around, but Nelson said the lake looks 99 percent better.

“We had no idea it was going to be this extensive,” he said.

Where do you put 30,000 pounds of fish? All of Lake Shetek’s dead carp are right in the middle of Nelson’s farm. He volunteered his land and is waiting for them to dry out to later use the fish as fertilizer.

“They say they make good fertilizer,” Nelson said.

It’s quite the sight and smell, but Nelson said he’d rather have the fish in his farmland than floating in front of other people’s homes.

“We just wanted a place away from the lake, away from anyone’s residence, because they’re going to smell,” he said.

DNR said lake communities throughout Southern Minnesota are dealing with a large winter kill. The heavy winter snowfall cut off the oxygen supply in the lakes. About 10,000 fish died this past winter, according to DNR, but it’s no one’s responsibility to clean up the lakes, because it is all a part of nature.

Written for the web by Megan Matthews’

I would be interested to know if any of the frenzy nation out there heard about this event, or have experienced similar winter kill in their regions?


One Response to “Community Conservation Clean Up in Minnesota”

  1. Matt Barwick Says:

    Great article – and fantastic to see the fishing community leading such a big effort.

    I would love to make contact with those involved in the clean up to see if anyone monitored water quality before, during and after the clean up effort, and also to find out from Nelson if he noticed a positive response in terms of his crop productivity the following season?


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