Is the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Accurately Tracking Fish Kills?

The Iowa Department of Natural Sources has a database of documented fish kills on its web site.  The database can be found here.  It has information about a number of documented fish kills, including conclusions about what killed them, going back to 1995.  I ran across the database the other day, and wondered if we were somehow doing better in now than in the past.  It looks like there are a lot fewer fish kills now than in the past.  1995 had 35 documented fish kills, 2011 had 25, and 2013 only had six.  Only one fish kill is recorded for 2014.

Are we doing better, or is the documentation worse?  Unfortunately, I am afraid the answer is that the documentation is worse.  I did a quick Google search and found a number of fish kills in 2014.  Maybe they are just slow recording them.

But fish kills that occurred in 2013 should all be documented by now.  Unfortunately, a quick search found a number of reports about fish kills, often referring to an IDNR source for the report, and these reports are not documented on the fish kill database.

Here are some links to reports about fish kills which occurred in 2013 and which do not seem to be documented in the current database.



and here.

Why is this important?  Well, these reports are used to evaluate water quality standards for Iowa, and false results give false evaluations.

Please get it right.


About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
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