LYONS COUNTY, Iowa (KELO) — Hundreds of thousands of gallons of livestock manure spilled into Mud Creek in Lyons County in the northwestern corner of Iowa.
A manure spill from a dairy barn in northwest Iowa is killing fish in Mud Creek five miles downstream forcing at least one farmer to change his weekend plans.
Lyle Friedrich was planning to go kyaking on Mud Creek Sunday afternoon.
“It’s kind of nice to see the fish in there when I’m kayaking and now they might not live,” said Lester, Iowa farmer Lyle Friedrich.
Ironically, Friedrich was hauling manure Thursday when he discovered the fish kill.
“I haul a lot of manure, but mostly it’s dry manure and there you’re not going to have an issue like you do with liquid manure. It can be a big issue, those big dairies around here, they’ve got a lot of manure to handle,” said Friedrich.
The manure spill happened Wednesday at the Rock Bottom Dairy when an irrigation unit got stuck in this field sending several hundred thousand gallons of manure flooding into the ditch and eventually mud creek.
Mike Hawkins was going to start counting dead fish in the creek today to document the spill for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
“We’ll do sample counts, we won’t be able to enumerate all of the dead fish but we have a method we use for creating a sample that can be expanded to the stream stretch that’s affected,” said Mike Hawkins with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
The dead fish could potentially figure into the fine handed to the dairy farm for polluting the water. So what’s a fish worth?
“Values on these fish can range anywhere from a to a few dollars, game fish are assessed at 15 dollars,” said Hawkins.
But the fish count will have to wait until Friday.
“It’s really hot still with manure and I don’t think we’re going to get into it. It’s pretty nasty,” said Hawkins.
The water is too toxic to enter even with waders and that’s why Fredrich is cancelling his weekend kayak plans.
“Yeah, I was thinking about doing it before it gets too low because there’s not much water in the creek, but I won’t now with this manure spill,” said Friedrich.
The DNR says they’ll keep monitoring the spill as it moves slowly south. They’re hoping the manure dissipates because Mud Creek runs into the Rock River.