Stumpy Lake spillway is filled with dead fish

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – There’s a big stink at the Stumpy Lake spillway in Virginia Beach, and it’s caused by hundreds of dead fish.

The problem is caused by low oxygen in the water, and part of the problem is the dark water caused by cypress trees growing in the waters of Stumpy Lake.

“The cypress trees put tannins into the water, and that makes the water darker, and because it is darker you get less photosynthesis, and you get less plant growth, which puts out oxygen,” said said Julie Braley, spokesperson for Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation.

If you look closely at the mass of fish, you can see some still flipping around, but you get the sense they will soon be dead, too.

The fish flowed to the other side of a spillway because of recent heavy rains that raised the water in Stumpy Lake. The fish — seeking more oxygen — kept swimming into the deeper water until they ended up trapped on the other side of the spillway. It is also possible that some of the dead flowed over in the rushing water.

Braley says usually they let nature take its course, but this time there are so many dead fish, they will work with Public Works.

“We are seeing if we can get a crew out here because it has a funky smell to it, if you will.”

This kill is apparently an annual phenomenon and also happens in neighborhood ponds. Last July, 10 On Your Side reported on the same thing happening.

“This is the second time this year. A couple of weeks ago where the humidity got up high, and the temperatures spiked, it caused [this kill] to be  a little higher than average.”