DNR Investigating Two Separate Fish Kills In Northwest Iowa

Mon 9-28-2015 []

(Spencer)-- The Spencer field office of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is investigating two fish kills in the area.

Officials say the first one affected about a 20 mile stretch of Stoney Creek northwest of Spencer. The fish kill was reported north of Everly this (Mon.) morning, but residents in the area reported seeing dead fish over the weekend. Two crews from the Spencer field office found heavy concentrations of dead fish west of Fostoria, then traced the dead fish northwest to the Osceola-Dickinson county line, about 11 miles west of Milford.

So far, DNR officials have not identified a source of the pollutant, but they believe it is from fertilizer or animal manure due to elevated ammonia levels that were found just west of Spencer.

Ken Hessenius, supervisor of the DNR's Spencer field office, says they may or may not be able to track down the source of the fish kill because it likely occurred several days ago. He says people should remember to call the field offices or the 24-hour spill hotline as soon as they see something. He says that would increase the chance of finding the source.

The DNR spill number is (515) 725-8694.

Most of the dead fish are minnows and chubs, but Hessenius says some larger fish were also found. He says the pollutant slug has now likely moved into the Ocheyedan River, become diluted, and passed through Spencer by now. He says the DNR will continue to look for the source of the pollutant.

The Spencer field office is also investigating a second, but smaller fish kill near Meridan in Cherokee county. A fisherman reported hundreds of dead chubs and minnows Saturday morning. However testing from Bear Creek today (Mon.) showed relatively good water quality with high levels of dissolved oxygen and low levels of ammonia. DNR specialists were not able to identity a pollutant source, but speculate that something may have washed into the stream following a 1-inch rainfall in that area over the weekend.