WEBER COUNTY — At the beginning of August, visitors to Pineview noticed dead fish littering the shores and floating in the water.
Staff from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources examined the scene and determined that thousands of young black crappie had died.
A few days after the die-off began, Chris Penne, aquatic biologist with DWR, said that multiple factors were at play, and the fish likely did not die as a result of contamination in the water.
A combination of high temperatures, receding water levels and a large population of fish all likely plaid a role in the die-off, Penne said.
“All things the same, if we didn’t have so many fish right now, I don’t think you’d be seeing this,” Penne said. “There’s no denying that temperature is part of it, but we’ve had these temperatures in other years and haven’t had this issue, so when you get this many fish, when they get a lot more crowded, that’s where you start getting problems.”
Algae blooms had not been detected prior to the die-off, Penne said.
Routine water testing hasn’t detected any algae blooms since then, and testing for E. coli in the reservoir has indicated that its within acceptable limits, according to Michela Harris, environmental health division director with the Weber-Morgan Health Department.
The Weber-Morgan Health Department does not conduct routine testing for contaminants other than algae blooms and E. coli, according to Lori Buttars, public information officer with the department.
“The Ogden City culinary water system performs routine cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) monitoring of the water supply,” Harris said in a message. “They did not detect any algae. They continue to work with (Utah) Division of Drinking Water to ensure that the drinking water supply is safe for consumption at all times.”
Health department staff test Pineview for E. coli contamination monthly, Harris said. If any signs of an algae bloom are present, they take samples for analysis.
“As with all recreational water bodies, Pineview is untreated water and not for consumption,” Harris said. “If an algae bloom is detected, avoid areas of scum, use caution and keep children and pets out of the water.
“We continue to monitor the lake closely and encourage the public to contact our office with any water quality concerns.”