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MICHIGAN– The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says dead fish may appear on our shores and riverbeds. However, they say it’s nothing to worry about.

The DNR says a natural phenomenon called “Winterkill” is responsible for most mass fish deaths.

Winterkill happens when ice prevents sunlight from reaching plants at river or lake beds. Without sunlight, plants can’t produce the oxygen fish need to breathe, which weakens or outright kills the fish. The DNR says bodies usually wash up in shallow water about a month after the ice thaws.

Winterkill affects other aquatic wildlife as well, such as turtles, frogs, and crayfish.