Investigators may not be able to determine the cause of a large fish kill on Buck Creek in Delaware County. Bill Jergensen with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says the kill included those of fish — mostly minnows, shiners and chubs, but also suckers, rock bass and sunfish.
He says the dead fish were between Ryan and Hopkinton on Buck Creek and the kill extended approximately eight miles. Jergensen says the initial investigation has failed to find the cause.
“At this point we’ve looked at the upper part of the watershed and we have not been able to identify the source of what may’ve killed the fish,” Jergensen says. He says part of the problem in discovering the source is that the report came days after the kill was noticed.
“The angler reported it on Monday morning. Apparently he noticed the dead fish on Saturday and thought that they had been dead for quite awhile. So, it had been four or five days since the occurrence by the time we got on site,” Jergensen explains. Jergensen says there could be several explanations, including material swept into the creek by rain.
Jergensen says, “Weather could have been a contributing factor — any contaminants would have been washed into the stream during a significant rain event — likely in the middle of last week is what we’re thinking.” He says DNR fisheries experts are still on the scene trying to get an exact cause of the kill and a count of the fish. Jergensen says it is important for you to always report a fish kill as soon as you can.
“We have a 24-hour emergency number that can be called on the weekends, overnight. And that number is 515-725-8694,” Jergensen says. Buck Creek is a tributary of the Maquoketa River, although no dead fish were found along the lower stretch that meets with the river.