The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is totaling up the damage from a manure spill reported Sunday in a remote part of the state. The D-N-R’s Kevin Baskins says it happened in Moon Creek, which flows into the Rock River in Lyon County.The initial estimate is that 25-hundred to three-thousand fish were killed along a two-mile stretch of Moon Creek, most small minnows and shiners, but at least one Northern Pike. Baskins says they think they know the source of the problem. The field workers believe the fish-kill was caused by runoff from a cattle feedlot near Rock Rapids, and the agency’s started working with the farmers to try and contain the runoff. Baskins says ammonia levels were relatively low in the Rock River where the creek flows into it…but they were high in the part of the creek right below the feedlot, which he says is owned by Jansma Farms.Baskins says rain was “kind of a blessing and a curse,” as it was the weekend rain that caused the runoff of manure into the creek, but the water also diluted the waste before it got to the river. If the D-N-R makes a final determination that the farmer’s responsible for the fish-kill, that owner will be liable for “fish restitution.” Only in the past four to five years has the agency looked at environmental damage that way, but now is collecting for the dollar value assigned to a fish-kill and only for a year or two have they been collecting for costs of the investigation by the D-N-R’s fisheries division.
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