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Fish kills illustrate stream vulnerability

  • 7/25/2019 2:48:00 PM
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DES MOINES—Three fish kills reported to DNR in two days illustrate the importance of taking extra caution with chemicals and other pollutants when the weather is hot and dry.

DNR staff are investigating two fish kills near Des Moines, one on Deer Creek about three miles southeast of Elkhart and another on Walnut Creek in West Des Moines. Also reported yesterday in Butler County, a fish kill occurred on a three-mile stretch of an unnamed stream near Clarksville.

Multiple species of fish died in all three streams, leading investigators to suspect a pollutant was involved.

“Any spill can be lethal to fish, crayfish and stream insect larvae, but when stream levels are low and temperatures are high these organisms are especially vulnerable,” says Ted Petersen, supervisor of DNR’s south central field office.

“When people see dead fish or something in the water that looks abnormal, they should report it to their local DNR field office or call the 24-hour spill line at 515-725-8694 after hours,” he added. “The sooner it’s reported, the more likely we can trace the source.”

DNR staff took water samples for analysis at all three locations and should have results back within two weeks. They will continue the investigations.