Game warden concerned about discovery of hundreds of dead fish in Salt Fork Arkansas River

KAY COUNTY, Okla. - Area game wardens are expressing concerns about two important Oklahoma river systems, where hundreds of fish have turned up dead.

Many of the dead fish were found earlier this week south of Ponca City where the Salt Fork River leads into the Arkansas River. Kay and Noble County game warden Spencer Grace says it was the second such discovery in a month.

"We were still counting upwards of 100 fish per mile and we've got easily 30 plus miles that are dead," Grace said. "It's not just fish that's died, the algae's completely dead, the fresh water mussels have died ... The entire ecosystem has shut down."

The exact cause for the deaths is unclear, but the Department of Environmental Quality has tested the water and should receive firm results for at least 10 days. 

In the meantime, Grace says his main concern is that more river life will be affected.

"It's been coinciding with rain. When we get rain, the fish kill moves further downstream," he said. " ... It will continue down the Arkansas River, there's nothing to stop it and to my knowledge there's no way we can stop it, it really has to run its course."

Tulsa County Game Warden Carlos Gomez says it's a wait-and-see situation and doesn't want to alarm residents because the likelihood of the problem extending to Tulsa depends on the DEQ's test results.

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