Aside from the pressure the drought and record
temperatures across the Midwest are putting on crops and livestock, it is also
taking a toll on the freshwater fish population, reports Inhabitat.
In just one incident, at least 40,000 shovelnose
sturgeons died in Iowa as water temperatures reached 97 degrees Fahrenheit, the news service reports.
There are also upsetting reports from Nebraska, where the
weather has killed thousands of carp, catfish, sturgeon and bass that are
washing ashore along the Lower Platte River; and from the Aux Sable Creek in
Illinois, where endangered and threatened species including the greater
redhorse fish have been hard hit.
In fact, so many dead fish clogged an intake screen at
one Illinois power plant that it was forced to shut down a generator.
It isn't just the heat that's causing problems, in some cases, streams and tributaries are evaporating, leaving the fish high and dry.
And you can beat that the effects will be felt for years, since the dry conditions have doubtless killed thousands if not millions of fish eggs.
Mark Flamming, a biologist with the Iowa Department
of Natural Resources, told Inhabitat, “It’s something I’ve never seen in my
career, and I’ve been here for more than 17 years. I think what we’re
mainly dealing with here are the extremely low flows and this unparalleled
While Americans might not feel the impact of
these fish deaths in their own local supermarket, they will put pressure on Midwest
economies in the form of reduced tourism and, in the case of sturgeon, reduced sales of caviar.
For more on the environmental and economic impact of the
Midwest fish deaths: