Thursday, April 28, 2016

Big Thompson fish kill

Here's part of the Reporter Herald's lead article today on a fish kill back on March 7.

City: Water supply not threatened
Thousands of fish die between Drake and Loveland after exposure to chemical
Reporter-Herald StaffWriter
Despite state wildlife agency reports that more than 5,600 fish died last month in the Big Thompson River upstream from Loveland’s water treatment plant, city officials stress residents’ drinking water remained safe.
Colorado Parks andWildlife officials confirmed Wednesday that a significant fish kill occurredMarch 7 on the Lower North Fork of the Big Thompson and mainstream Big Thompson River from Drake downstream to the canyon mouth in west Loveland.
from page 1A
Initial reports of fish kill from residents launched a multi-agency response, and Parks and Wildlife officials said when they found out it was limited to rainbow and brown trout, suckers and dace, the agency started investigating its cause and extent.
Officials said that while they are still analyzing the fish kill and its cause, it seems that chemicals from concrete work on the County Road 43 project and replacement of Storm Mountain Road bridge went into the water, dramatically increasing its pH levels.
“To date, the project, which is slated for completion in late summer 2016, has replaced multiple bridges and constructed grouted ... walls along many sections of road and river without issue. Unfortunately, site conditions, weather, soils, topography and other factors at the Storm Mountain bridge created conditions that allowed movement of chemicals from concrete to enter the stream, causing a dramatic increase in pH … which when moving downstream sickened or killed fish in its path,” the news release stated.
Darrick Turner, senior environmental specialist for the county, and other county staff members, after hearing from residents of the fish kill, followed up with construction crews but found that the crews’ environmental mitigation practices were in compliance at the time.