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Manure spill causes fish kill in Monroe County

Wisconsin DNR investigating spill that began with a mechanical failure

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Dead brook trout in the Little Plover River
A dead brook trout can be seen in the Little Plover River, which experienced fish kills due to dry spells and groundwater pumping from 2005 to 2009.
Photo courtesy of George Kraft

A manure spill from a dairy farm in Monroe County caused a fish kill in a nearby creek and tributary.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced the spill Tuesday. A statement from the agency said the spill was discovered last week and began with a mechanical failure in a manure transfer system that moves manure from barns to a manure treatment system. Manure then spilled into a gully and washed into a tributary and into Moore Creek.

The spill began east of Norwalk and south of State Highway 71. According to the DNR, an accurate estimate of the amount of manure that spilled is not available.

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Agencies were first notified of the spill by an angler fishing in Moore Creek. 

According to the DNR, about 1.2 miles of the creek and about three-quarters of a mile of the tributary were affected. The agency is still investigating to determine the extent of the fish kill.

Along with the investigation, according to a statement, the DNR is recording impacts to water quality and the fishery, coordinating manure containment and cleanup with the farm owners, documenting any noncompliance with state law and working with the county and the farmer to prevent future spills.

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