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Freedom Park Pond fish kill

A large fish kill at newly remodeled Freedom Park Pond in Burley is under investigation.

BURLEY — Idaho Fish and Game officials are looking for information on a major fish kill at Freedom Park Pond over the weekend.

The agency received a report on the major die-off on Sunday evening at the IDFG stocked trout pond that recently reopened after it was revamped, Doug Megargle, Idaho Fish and Game regional fishery manager said.

Agency officials say the kill occurred suddenly between Saturday morning and Sunday evening and narrowing the time could help investigators.

Water samples were taken and the results are pending.

“We don’t have any solid results yet,” Megargle said.

IDFG, Idaho Department of Agriculture, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and the city of Burley responded to the pond on Monday morning to investigate.

It appears the kill was a complete or nearly complete fill of all fish based on the counts of multiple fish species.

Megargle said about 4,300 fish were planted in two plantings during the past six weeks and the kill involved between 200 to 400 fish.

A lot of the dead fish had been placed in garbage bins and started to decay making the exact count difficult, he said.

“We don’t think there are any fish left to catch in the pond,” Megargle said.

If people recently caught fish at the pond, they can delay eating them until the results of the tests determine the cause.

“If people are concerned about that, they could opt to not consume them,” he said.

There are instances where fish kill off occurs when there is oxygen deprivation in the water, a lightning strike or a high nitrogen load from spring water affects the fish. The pond is fed from a natural spring.

“We don’t have any information that immediately points to that here,” Megargle said.

There is also no evidence of chemical runoff into the pond from a heavy rainstorm, he said.

The community-driven restoration of the pond was completed this spring.

Anyone with information should call Doug Megargle at 208-324-4359.

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