Fish kill at Leslie Dam a natural occurence

Dead fish have washed up at Leslie Dam throughout the month. Photo: Emily-Rose Toohey.

By Dominique Tassell

Locals raised concerns about dead fish lining the shores of Leslie Dam last week, but authorities have stated it was a natural occurrence and not cause for concern.

Locals first raised the alarm in early June but became concerned when they saw fish washing up again last week.

A spokesperson from Sunwater stated that “in early June 2022, Sunwater discovered approximately 100 dead bony bream fish at Leslie Dam”.

“This was subsequently reported to the Department of Environment and Science (DES) in accordance with the DES reporting guidelines.

“Changes in temperature and significant inflows into the dam are understood to have impacted upon the bony bream, which are relatively vulnerable to low water temperatures and reductions in oxygen levels.

“The bony bream more recently observed on the banks of Leslie Dam suggest a continuation of these cold water impacts from early June.

“While these conditions have and potentially continue to impact bony bream, no other fish species have been affected.

A spokesperson from the Department of Environment and Science (DES) stated that on 8 June 2022, DES received a report of a large fish kill at Leslie Dam.

They confirmed that DES received a second report regarding the same fish kill on 20 June 2022, and said that departmental staff liaised with local council staff regarding the event.

“Due to local weather conditions prior to the fish kill that saw temperatures drop suddenly overnight, it is considered that natural causes are the most likely reason for the fish kill.”

While locals expressed concerns that the fish would negatively impact camping sites during the school holidays, staff at Lake Leslie Tourist Park say the fish washing up was only an issue for a few days and has not affected the holiday period.

Southern Downs Regional Council was contacted for comment but did not supply one.