Multiple agencies investigate cause of fish kill on Little Cal River

2013-07-01T18:45:00Z 2013-07-02T13:05:24Z Multiple agencies investigate cause of fish kill on Little Cal RiverLu Ann Franklin Times Correspondent
July 01, 2013 6:45 pm  • 

MUNSTER | Multiple state and local environmental and law enforcement agencies are investigating a large fish kill discovered Sunday along a quarter-mile stretch of the Little Calumet River near Calumet Avenue.

Water samples and some fish were removed from the site to be analyzed, said Keith Wildeman, a conservation officer with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources law enforcement division.

No cause for the fish kill is currently known, and there’s no schedule established for when that information will be released, he said.

A teenager who had fished the spot the day before saw a large number of dead fish when he returned Sunday.

“The angler went back home and told his father,” Wildeman said Monday during a phone interview from Starke County.

Information about which agency was initially notified wasn’t available, he said.

DNR conservation officers were joined at the site Sunday by the representatives from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, the Lake County Hazmat team and the Munster Police Department.

DNR conservation officers estimated that more than 200 fish were killed. The species include bluegill, bass, catfish and carp from minnow size to 16 inches long, Wildeman said. The fish killed was discovered on a part of the river that flows into Illinois.

“When there is a fish kill, we have a protocol,” he said. “We’re not equipped to go into the water (that might be polluted). Hazmat is equipped for that.”

IDEM collected water samples to determine if pollutants were present in the river. An analysis being conducted in South Bend will check if recent heavy rains may have carried a substance into the river that killed the fish, Wildeman said.

DNR fisheries biologists will perform a necropsy, or animal autopsy, on the fish taken from the river Sunday. The DNR fisheries division is now in charge of removing the remainder of the dead fish, he said.

Anyone with information about the fish kill is asked to contact the Indiana Conservation Officer Central Dispatch at (812) 837-9536.

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