Ahwatukee Lakes residents outraged over fish die-off - CBS 5 - KPHO

Ahwatukee Lakes residents outraged over fish die-off

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Susanne Mauch said she was very concerned about dying fish and birds after the owner of the now closed Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Course started draining lakes on the property. (Source: CBS 5 News) Susanne Mauch said she was very concerned about dying fish and birds after the owner of the now closed Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Course started draining lakes on the property. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Many fish were found dead in the bed of the lake after the water level fell. (Source: CBS 5 News) Many fish were found dead in the bed of the lake after the water level fell. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Other fish struggled to survive in the shallow water. (Source: CBS 5 News) Other fish struggled to survive in the shallow water. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Even waterfowl had a tough time in the slimy and deep silt of the drained lakebeds. (Source: CBS 5 News) Even waterfowl had a tough time in the slimy and deep silt of the drained lakebeds. (Source: CBS 5 News)
AHWATUKEE, AZ (CBS5) -

You brought a problem to our attention, and we brought you results.

Residents of the Ahwatukee Lakes community called CBS 5 News to complain that wildlife was being left behind to die while a golf course lake is drained.

When a CBS 5 News reporter arrived at the lake at Lakeside Boulevard and Oneida Court it had very little water, and fish were struggling in the shallow lakebed.

Wilson Gee, the owner of the golf course said it was a misunderstanding and had the water turned back on Monday night.

"Oh, I'm so happy," resident Susanne Mauch said. "I'm absolutely ecstatic. So, at least he's going to try to save the animals now."

Mauch was very concerned about dying fish and birds when we spoke with her earlier Monday afternoon.

"All day long, I've been watching the fish dying right there - just flapping around (and then) dead," she told us.

Gee said Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Course, which closed last summer, is in the process of draining all six lakes on the property – which he told residents about in May.

Gee promised he would move turtles and other wildlife to lakes on his Ahwatukee Country Club property.

"These are animals, and they're suffering for no particular reason, other than no one seems to care," said resident Melissa Rivas, who rescued a dying fish that appeared to be a giant koi Monday afternoon.

When CBS5 News got to the property, dead fish were lining the shore, fish were struggling in shallow water and birds were getting stuck in silt.

"It's not right to let something this horrible happen to living beings," said Rivas.

CBS5 News spoke with Gee Monday evening.

Prior to the phone call, he said no one had notified him of any problem.

After checking into it, Gee called back and said his maintenance crew left the fish behind Monday morning because the silt was unsafe to wade in.

He had the water turned back on temporarily around 7:40 p.m. Monday so the fish would be able to move around.

Gee said crews will return with sheets of plywood Tuesday morning so they can safely get to the remaining fish.

"Yes, (I'll) definitely keep watching – because you never know," Mauch said. "Promises were made and broken. But, I'm happy now. And, you guys (CBS 5 News) are great. I'm so happy, thank you!"

Gee assured CBS 5 News he did not want to see any animal die and was very upset to learn what was happening.

He also said if anyone finds turtles that have wandered into their yards from the drained lakes they can bring them to his Ahwatukee Country Club.

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