Bridge collapse; now 750,000 fish killed overnight in a “freak accident” across Iowa and Missouri.

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What is going on in our nation’s waterways? First, it’s the goods and supplies, now it’s the food.

“A fertilizer spill this month in southwest Iowa killed nearly all the fish in a 60-mile stretch of river with an estimated death toll of more than 750,000, according to Iowa and Missouri conservation officers.

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That is the biggest fish kill in Iowa in at least a decade and the fifth-largest on record, according to state data.

And it could have been worse: Fish populations were likely smaller than normal when the spill happened because of cold water temperatures and low river flows.

“Thank goodness, in a way, it happened when it did,” said Joe Larscheid, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ fisheries bureau. “But this is a big one. It’s a lot of river miles that have been impacted.”

The spill originated at NEW Cooperative in Red Oak, Iowa, where a valve that either malfunctioned or was not properly closed leaked about 265,000 gallons of liquid nitrogen fertilizer, most of which went into the nearby East Nishnabotna River.

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The leak happened on a weekend from March 9 to 11 in an area where the fertilizer is distributed to customers of the farmers’ co-op. That area is not required by state rules to have barriers that would prevent a leak from reaching the river.

The result was a widespread annihilation of aquatic life.”


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