National Mall pond fish kill claims hundreds of fish lives

The fish kill happened in the Constitutional Gardens Pond on the Mall. Photo: Indira Levine

WASHINGTON (WJLA) -- Mike Gentile of the National Park Service got a surprise early Thursday morning.

“I got a text early saying we got a giant fish kill going on," he says.

About a thousand dead blue gills were found floating on the Constitutional Garden Pond on the National Mall at 18th and Constitution streets in NW D.C. Wednesday night. And by mid-day, hundreds of dead blue gills were still floating atop Constitution Garden’s pond.

"We're over here, cleaning up all the floating ones," says Gentile. "I can't really smell it at this point, guess all my senses have died off."

As he was scooping up the fish, Arlington resident Holly Wise says she started to smell something:

"Glanced over and and saw someone actually wading in the water, so we cycled over and you could smell the quite strong smell of dead fish."

Tourist Roy Smith says, "I hope it wasn't something that someone put in the water."

According to Mike Gentile, the fish may have died due to a lack of oxygen in the water caused by cyanobacteria, otherwise known as blue-green algae that "looks kind of like green paint in the water."

The D.C. Department of the Environment took water samples Thursday morning. They were handed off to the D.C. Army National Guard, which will test them.

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