LANSING, Mich. (CBS Detroit/ AP) – State officials say small numbers of dead fish may be common sights in Michigan waters as winter’s snow and ice melt.

(Credit: Boundless Images/ Shutterstock.com)

(Credit: Boundless Images/ Shutterstock.com)

Gary Whelan of the Department of Natural Resources says very cold temperatures and heavy snow can kill fish and other aquatic animals such as turtles, frogs, toads and crayfish.

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Shallow lakes with lots of vegetation are especially prone to winter kill. Aquatic plants covered by ice and snow die from lack of sunlight and use up dissolved oxygen as they decay, which can cause fish to suffocate.

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Canals in urban areas also susceptible because of runoff and pollution from roads, lawns and septic systems.

Whelan says the fish kills typically happen late in winter but can go unnoticed until the water warms and fish rise to the surface.

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