A state team is investigating the cause of a fishkill in far southeast Iowa’s Lee County. Dennis Ostwinkle, regional supervisor for the Iowa D.N.R.’s Environmental Services Division, says several thousand dead fish were counted on Tuesday at Trumpeter Swan Marsh, near Fort Madison.
“Four-thousand was the count by the fisheries staff and it’s in a quarry pond regulated by Lee County,” Ostwinkle says. “I’m not sure if it’s open to the public for fishing or what they do there. Anyway, a lot of fish were killed and we don’t know what the cause is yet.” He says a dollar value is being placed on the dead fish.
“There were bluegill, bass and crappie and maybe some catfish,” Ostwinkle says. “The estimate by the fisheries bureau was $60,000 and that’s because they’re all game fish.” The National Weather Service says Lee County is under a Flood Warning, but he says it doesn’t appear that this 16-acre pond was affected by sewage, manure or chemicals that might’ve washed in with flood water.
“There isn’t any flooding that I’m aware of in this particular location,” Ostwinkle says. “Now, the Mississippi River is high and some of our other rivers, but it’s not impacting this site here.” The D.N.R. is taking water samples and other steps to trace the cause of the fishkill. If a responsible party is found, Ostwinkle says there may be penalties and restitution.