PHOENIX — As a Phoenix-area lake is being drained to replace a dam, officials said they are taking special precautions to protect its primary residents: fish.
“We’ve created a little habitat for the fish,” Kris Baxter with the city of Tempe said. “With aeration, they’ll be monitored, they’ll be fed. It’s like a little staycation for them.”
The reason for protecting the fish is two-fold: Officials are trying to avoid killing any of the animals and they want to prevent Tempe Town Lake from smelling after it is drained.
The last time the city drained the lake — in 2010 to replace a burst dam — residents complained of a strong dead fish smell emanating from the empty lake.
Tempe began pulling water out of the lake in February. City officials said the $47 million project will replace the rubber bladders that burst a few years ago, flooding nearby areas and emptying the lake.
Sadly, not all of the fish will survive. Baxter said Tempe has come up with a unique solution to remove those that die.
“The other part of that process is what do you do with those fish,” she said. “We are working with the Phoenix Zoo, the Herpetological Society and World Wildlife Zoo to have them come pick that fish up and use them for the animals.”
The fish will be sheltered in the marina and no fishing will be allowed.
The lake is expected to be refilled about April 30.
KTAR News’ Brian Rackham and Cronkite News’ Mallory Price contributed to this report.