Fish kill at South Republican State Wildlife Area
BURLINGTON, Colo. - Hundreds of fish have died at the South Republican State Wildlife Area after a dam upstream broke and released raw sewage into the State Wildlife Area and the South Fork Republican River. The dam is located near a confined animal feeding operation.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife is in the process of collecting and counting the dead fish and is encouraging anglers who typically use Hale Ponds to seek out other fishing opportunities in the area. People and their pets are also urged to stay out of the water.
"We are gathering as much information as we can to determine how much this spill has impacted the fishery," said Aaron Berscheid, District Wildlife Manager.
Berscheid said sections of the South Fork of the Republican River and Hale Ponds have been sampled to assess the damage caused to game fish and native non-game species.
"We are working on how to effectively clean up, but it is difficult to know a time frame. Then we can talk about restocking and restoring the fishery," said Berscheid. "We know it's important to the people in this area."
Both Colorado Parks and Wildlife and The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment are investigating the release.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has issued a public health advisory for the South Fork of the Republican River due to suspected elevated levels of bacteria and other pollutants.
CPW is an enterprise agency, relying primarily on license sales, state parks fees and registration fees to support its operations, including: 42 state parks and more than 350 wildlife areas covering approximately 900,000 acres, management of fishing and hunting, wildlife watching, camping, motorized and non-motorized trails, boating and outdoor education. CPW's work contributes approximately $6 billion in total economic impact annually throughout Colorado.
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