Wildlife loss tallied from manure spill 2009.08.19

Written by David Green.

What’s the price of some lost wildlife?

The Ohio DNR does put a figure on everything—every last minnow found floating in a stream.

A July 16 manure spill in Chesterfield Township fouled nearly four miles of Little Bear Creek, a tributary of the Raisin River, and resulted in a fish kill that brought Ohio DNR investigators to the scene.

Steve Thompson from the DNR’s Wildlife Division said the total count came in at about 8,300 animals, including about 1,100 larger fish, 200 crayfish, 725 Asiatic clams and about 5,000 minnows. There were also some tadpoles and mussels.

His agency was nearly finished identifying the various species last week and estimated the fine for wildlife lost at $2,000. Another $3,000 would be assessed to Chesterfield Dairy for investigative costs.

“It was a pretty good size spill,” Thompson said, but he expects no permanent damage. “It should recover in a couple of years.”

Thompson was surprised with some of the fish found in the small stream.

“We ran into a lot of pike and sunfish,” he said, in addition to the more common suckers and bullhead.

There were also creek chubs—which typically grow in the eight to nine-inch range—darters and crayfish. Only a pair of carp were found.

Darters and crayfish are generally the sign of a good quality stream, Thompson said.

He isn’t familiar with the invasive Asiatic fingernail clam that’s entered Lake Erie like the zebra mussel.

“They have a free swimming stage in their life cycle and they migrate,” he said, explaining their presence in Fulton County.

Thompson said the DNR assigns a monetary value by considering the price Fish and Wildlife would have to pay to replace the animals. The value is adjusted every six to eight years.

Pike, for example, are value somewhere in the $2 to $3 range where minnows are a penny or less. Game fish such as bass and bluegill drive up the cost of a fish kill.

In this case, the fine would have been larger if more crayfish had been counted.

“Crayfish don’t float and the water was too dark to see them,” Thompson said. “If we had been able to count the crayfish, that would have increased the cost considerably.”

Dina Pierce of the Ohio EPA said last week her agency is still investigating the manure spill and hasn’t yet concluded if further action or enforcement will be needed.

  • Front.pokemon
    LATEST CRAZE—David Cortes (left) and Ty Kruse, along with Jerred Heselschwerdt (standing), consult their smartphones while engaging in the game of Pokémon Go. The virtual scavenger hunt comes to life when players are in the vicinity of gyms, such as Stair District Library, and PokéStops such as the fire station across the street. The boys had spent time Monday morning searching for Pokémon at Wakefield Park.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.soccer.balls
    BEVY OF BALLS—Stair District Library Summer Reading Program VolunTeens, including Libby Rorick, back left and Ty Kruse, back right, threw a dozen inflatable soccer balls into the crowd during a reading of “Sergio Saves the Game.” The sports-themed program continues on Wednesdays through July 27.
  • Front.art.park
  • Front.drum
  • Shadow.salon

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016