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Drought Blamed For Santa Maria Park Fish Die-off

A disturbing reality about the ongoing drought on the Central Coast has caught the attention of park-goers in Santa Maria.

Scores of dead fish are floating along the water’s edge at James “Jim” May Park in northeast Santa Maria, the city’s only municipal park with a man-made lake.

Mother Nature and the public come together in a peaceful, beautiful setting at Jim May Park in northeast Santa Maria.

“My son comes and feeds the ducks”, says local resident Mariela Corona, “we come here almost every day, he loves the playground, and there’s a lot of kids here sometimes, that’s what he really likes.”

Recently though there’s been a disturbing revelation at Jim May Park.

Scores of dead fish are floating up along the water’s edge of the big, man-made lake.

“It kind of freaked us out a little bit”, Mariela Corona says about the dead fish, “I mean she loves animals, so she saw there was a bunch of dead fish, so she started asking questions as to why they’re dead, I don’t know what to tell her you know.”

“Its not normal”, adds local resident and Jim May Park visitor Teresa Mendoza, “something’s happened.”

“Some kids like to jump over the fence and they are playing there at the water”, Mariela Corona says, “might be a good idea to know if there is something that is causing the fish to die.”

The City of Santa Maria says the fish die-off is a natural reaction from a lack of fresh water runoff into the lake due to the ongoing drought, which causes a lack oxygen in the water and an algae bloom that can kill the fish.

A city spokesperson says most of the dead fish will be consumed by local birds and adds the fish die-off at Jim May Park lake has been happening every year since California’s historic drought began more than five years ago.

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