Fish kill investigation underway in Jackson County

Northeast Alabama
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STEVENSON, Ala. - The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources confirmed Tuesday it is investigating a fish kill reported in Crow Creek in Jackson County.

Next to the dock, near the bank and even on the boat ramp, dozens of dead fish littered the shoreline of crow creek in Stevenson. People who live in the area say they noticed the dead fish Sunday.

"Well, this year I've been putting in about twice a week at least," said Charles Hughes, a Jackson County resident.

Hughes stopped by the creek Tuesday after he heard about the fish kill.

"It's unusual. I don't really know how to think about it you know," Hughes said.

Officials with the environmental watchdog group, Tennessee Riverkeeper do know how they feel about it.

"This fish kill in Jackson county is a tragedy," said David Whiteside, Tennessee Riverkeeper executive director.

The agency said a fishery biologist and a Tennessee Valley Authority biologist visited in the area Monday. Officials said the biologists surveyed the area to determine the extent of where the fish were dying.

The agency is still trying to understand the number and species of fish impacted. Biologists are also working to understand the cause of the fish kill.

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Officials told WHNT News 19 it is possible that fish died due to low oxygen levels that tend to occur in the summer when algae dies off from high temperatures. However, officials haven't determined the cause yet.

"We know that industry causes these fish kills sometimes too, so we're concerned that the fish are dying, we're concerned about what chemicals might be killing these fish," Whiteside said.

Local anglers and officials with the Tennessee Riverkeeper hope the agencies find answers soon.

WHNT News 19 has learned the Alabama Department of Environmental Management is involved in the investigation. A spokesperson for ADEM said a Decatur field office representative responded to the area to take dissolved oxygen and water samples.

The TVA said it found out about the fish kill on Monday. The utility company told WHNT News 19 the fish kill has nothing to do with TVA operations. A spokesperson said TVA is supporting the Alabama agencies that are investigating the incident by providing an airboat and airboat operator.

This is a developing story. You can count on WHNT News 19 to bring you the latest information. 

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