West Nile Virus: Is Aerial Spray Killing Fish?

When a picture of hundreds of dead fish on a Highland Park sidewalk began making the Internet rounds on Monday, many users assumed the fish were casualties of recent aerial spraying for West Nile Virus.

But neighbors and city officials point to a different problem: the heavy weekend rains.

E-zine publisher Jeff Levine went on a walk Sunday along Lakeside Drive, he snapped a photo of hundreds of small fish and one large one beached on the sidewalk.

"This is from my walk today in Dallas," read the caption.

The fish were beached on a sidewalk near Exall Lake, part of Turtle Creek that runs through Highland Park.

Highland Park was sprayed with Duet on Thursday, the first night planes took to the sky to mist mosquito killer in an effort to combat West Nile Virus. Several cases of West Nile Virus -- and at least one death -- happened in the Park Cities.

But Highland Park city officials and neighbors say they've seen massive fish deaths like this before, and they had nothing to do with insecticide.

Rather, a deluge of heavy rain -- like the 2 to 4 inches that fell on Saturday -- causes the creek to swell rapidly. As a result, thousands of small fish often get beached when the creek falls to normal levels. It's a smelly problem that residents near the area know all about.

By Monday, the dead fish had been removed by Highland Park city workers.

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