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.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017