Hundreds of fish found dead in Las Cruces park

Hundreds of fish found dead in Las Cruces park (Credit: CBS4)

Several dozen fish were floating dead in a pond at Young Park in Las Cruces this week after pumps filtrating the water stopped working.

At least 100 fish ranging from bluegill to carp were killed.

City Councilman Gabe Vasquez explained the problem in the water that affected many of the fish.

“We had an unfortunate mechanical failure; we had two of our pumps that power the oxygenation system in the pond go out at the same time so that caused some low oxygen levels in the water that unfortunately was fatal for some of the fish,” Vasquez said.

Earlier this week, we spoke with a man who said he came to the pond expecting to fish until he noticed the problem.

“It looked like even the bigger fish were having trouble breathing, they were coming up for air, kind of like floating sideways,” Las Cruces resident Jacob Rivadeneira said.

“I didn’t even throw my line in yesterday because of that. I was, like, I’m not gonna fish... all the fish are dying."

Wednesday, the city put one of the pumps back into the water which, helping to stabilize oxygen levels for fish, which means people can still enjoy a day of fishing.

The city is currently replacing the last aerator pump that stopped working and hope to have it back in the pond very soon.

On Thursday, many people took advantage of the weather to come out and fish, and say they’re relieved to hear that the issue is being addressed.

“This is pretty much one of the only places people can fish in Cruces; it’s either this or the river or we have to drive an hour or two to Elephant Butte, so it’s good they are gonna do something to fix it,” Sebastian Compean said.

The pond at Young Park is stocked two times a year,; once the second pump goes in, the Department of Fish and Wildlife will resume stocking the pond as usual.

Vasquez said he asked the city to look into a long-term sustainability plan for the pond, which may include buying more pumps.

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