Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'It Wiped out the Whole Lake'; Fish Kill Draws Buzzards to Pond

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'It Wiped out the Whole Lake'; Fish Kill Draws Buzzards to Pond

Article excerpt

Byline: R. Michael Anderson, County Line staff writer

The first clue that something was wrong with a retention pond in the Captiva subdivision near Doctors Lake was a frothy, whitish substance that appeared around the shoreline on Nov. 5.

The next day, an odor began emanating from the pond and dead fish began appearing on the surface.

It wasn't long before the decaying fish attracted hordes of turkey vultures to the neighborhood for a gigantic feast.

"There has been literally hundreds of buzzards," said Stuart Johnston, who lives on Captiva Drive just across the road from the pond.

Johnston, a former environmental affairs officer at Jacksonville Naval Air Station, said Thursday that he and some of his neighbors suspect a harmful substance from a nearby construction site might have found its way into storm drains and flowed into the Captiva pond, turning the water "milky white."

Whatever "it" was, the result was deadly.

"It wiped out the whole lake," said Johnston, who moved to Captiva seven years ago. "It was stuffed with bass, carp and catfish. We saw literally hundreds of fish [remains] on the bank yesterday."

Kathy Vannoy, whose back yard slopes to the water's edge, said the pond initially was stocked with carp about the time she moved to the neighborhood eight years ago. Over the years, other people introduced other kinds of fish into the pond.

"Now, all our fish are dead," Vannoy said Thursday. "We had turkey vultures in groups of 200 or 300, mainly eating around the edge of the pond. They've been here ever since [Nov. 6]."

Though the pond, which residents alternately refer to as a lake, was back to normal by the end of last week, Vannoy said she noticed unusual coloration in the water Nov. 6.

"I noticed the lake had changed from its normal murky brown to a sea green, almost turquoise color, with a grayish white substance around the edge," she said. "By that afternoon the big fish we had out there were floating. …

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