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Cylinder Creek Fish Kill Under Investigation

By Staff | Sep 2, 2010

A telephone call to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Field Office in Spencer prompted an investigation into what authorities term a “small” fish kill in a tributary of Cylinder Creek.

According to Ken Hessenius of the Iowa Deparment of Natural Resources, a follow-up investigation of the call on Monday, August 30, resulted in DNR officials discovering a small number of dead chubs, minnows and crawfish in a tributary of Cylinder Creek, northeast of Emmetsburg. An investigation into the kill discovered a release of hog manure into the stream through a tile line.

The DNR says the incident occurred at a confinement operation owned Paul Ehmen and operated by his brother, Jon Ehmen. Jon Ehmen advised the DNR he had been pumping manure from a storage pit onto the ground periodically over a month to create more storage room in the pit. The Ehmens claimed no knowledge of a nearby tile line that allowed some manure to eventually flow into the tributary.

DNR inspectors also noted on Monday when they investigated the kill that live fish were also observed at the same time in the tributary.

The investigation into the incident is continuing, according to the DNR, and possible enforcement actions are being considered against Ehmen.