Major fish kill reported in Sanilac and St. Clair counties
Written by Bay City Times   
Thursday, 13 August 2009 17:12
The Sierra Club of Michigan was first with this news earlier today.

The state departments of Environmental Quality and Natural Resources have now confirmed it.

The departments have responded to a significant fish kill along a 12-mile stretch of the Black River in Sanilac and St. Clair counties.

The DEQ is conducting an investigation into the cause of the fish kill, including reviewing an apparent discharge of manure from an agricultural field adjacent to Seymour Creek upstream from the Black River.

The DEQ cautions, however, that officials will need to thoroughly review all possible sources of contamination before making any final determinations as to the cause of the fish kill.

"The damage caused by this incident is not only unfortunate, but completely unacceptable," DEQ Director Steven E. Chester said in a news release issued just before 2 p.m. today.

"While we cannot undo the damage that has already been done, the DEQ will continue to investigate the cause behind it and hold those responsible for it accountable."

High numbers of various game fish species were killed, including smallmouth bass, northern pike, channel catfish, and rock bass, along with greater redhorse, a pretty rare species in southeast Michigan, officials say. They didn't provide an estimate on the number of dead fish.

"Many of the fish lost in this incident were larger, older fish," DNR Director Rebecca Humphries said in a statement. "This is a significant loss of a very diverse fishery in the Black River."

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