Massive fish kills in South Skunk River


Photo by Towboat Garage, Flickr

Last week a manure spill caused the death of more than 30,000 fish in Hamilton County. This was the South Skunk River’s second fish kill of the week.

Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources reports:

A fish kill on the South Skunk River near the Hamilton and Story County line last week affected five miles of stream and killed an estimated 27,456 fish valued at $38,056.

The fish kill was traced back to a leaking outdoor concrete manure holding structure at a hog confinement northwest of Randall near Little Wall Lake and owned by Merlyn Hegland of Ellsworth.

More than half the fish killed were smaller minnow species, but more than 1,000 dead smallmouth bass were also included. Other species included channel catfish, bullhead, bluegill and sunfish.

The DNR has the authority to seek restitution for the cost of the fish killed and take additional enforcement action. The incident is still under investigation by the DNR.

A smaller fish kill on a tributary of the South Skunk River also occurred last week and is believed to have occurred because of chemical drift from aerial crop spraying.  The estimate for this fish kill was nearly 6,000 fish, mostly smaller minnow species, valued at $758 along approximately one mile of the stream. The DNR is still investigating this fish kill to determine a responsible party.

 

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About Michael Gallagher

I am originally from outside of Chicago, but I have spent the last five years in Iowa pursuing my education. From 2006-2010 I attended Grinnell College, where I received a B.A. in English. Currently, I am a graduate student in the University of Iowa's journalism department. In addition to my work for CGRER, I write for the non-profit investigative reporting organization Iowa Watch. Previously, I worked as a freelance writer, primarily contributing to Hoopla (The Gazette's arts and culture publication), and I assistant coached the Grinnell College cross country and track teams for a year. My interests include writing, running, watching the Chicago Bulls, and . . . environmental news!
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