Is something fishy going on at Flushing Meadows Corona Park? An alarming number of dead fish have washed up along the shores of the park’s Willow Lake, sparking an investigation by the NY Parks Department. Some think that the problem at the lake, which is currently being converted into a nature preserve, might be the result of herbicides being used to kill off invasive plant species in the area.

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Lifeless fish were also seen floating around both the western and eastern shores of the man-made lake, which was originally created for the 1939-40 World’s Fair. The park does not permit fishing of its large carp, killfish and American eel population.

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Willow Lake is currently undergoing a massive makeover to transform the area into a wildlife preserve surrounded by hiking trails. Part of the ambitious plan includes removing 14 acres of invasive species. Although the investigation into the causes of death is ongoing, the methods used to remove such species is leading many to suspect herbicidal chemicals as the reason behind the recent deaths.

“I spotted a sign that they were spraying pesticide so I stayed away from there,” local resident Stan Zompakos told the NY Daily News. “The week after that I went to the bird blind and saw a lot of fish that had died.”

Due to the high number of deaths, the state Parks Department has opened an investigation. “Parks has been looking into this issue with multiple agencies, limnologists (who study inland waters like lakes and streams) and fisheries experts,” said agency spokeswoman Tara Kiernan. “We are looking into all possible causes.”

Via NY Daily News

Lead image via NY Parks