The Edmond Sun

State News

July 5, 2012

EPA: Mycotoxin fungus may be cause of last year’s Red River fish kill

TULSA — A poisonous fungus is the potential culprit behind a massive fish kill on the Red River last July, according to an interim report released last month by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The fish kill was noticed by fishermen near the community of Oscar in Jefferson County, where thousands of blue and flathead catfish, many of them weighing 30 to 40 pounds, were found floating to the surface along a roughly 100-mile stretch of the river bordering Oklahoma and Texas.

“We found dead fish downstream to nearly Lake Texoma,” said Barry Bolton, chief of fisheries for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “It was predominately the big fish.”

Officials first pointed to heavy metals as a suspected source. Lead and mercury are such examples.

But EPA chemists have determined in the most recent analysis that an outbreak of a mycotoxin, which grows on rye, barley, wheat and grasses, including fescue and marsh grass, was a potential cause of the fish kill.

Mycotoxins are a by-product of fungal growth, according to the report, which stressed that the investigation is ongoing.

The report indicates that the EPA and the state Department of Environmental Quality are not sure how the mycotoxin entered the river.

State officials collected water samples last July and September. The samples were sent to state laboratories and the EPA.

State officials were concerned about a “cloudy, gel-like material” discovered in samples collected from the Ketchum Bluff area near Oscar. The EPA lab determined that it had elevated levels of magnesium hydroxide and sodium chloride, but there was no mention of these substances in the report’s “key messages,” which pointed solely to the mycotoxin as the potential cause for the fish kill.

EPA spokesman Dave Bary said the agency is not aware of a mycotoxin being the cause of other fish kills in Oklahoma.

Bolton said state environmental officials are investigating another fish kill that occurred last month in the same part of the river. “We found fewer dead fish this year than last year, but it was the same pattern, the same kind of fish,” he said.

The report indicates that the EPA will take more water samples in connection with the most recent fish kills and that their analyses will be included in a final report.

1
Text Only
State News
  • sales tax holiday.jpg Oklahoma sales tax takes a holiday

    Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 1 and ending at midnight Aug. 3, Oklahomans will be able to participate in a sales tax holiday giving shoppers the opportunity to purchase certain clothing and shoes free of sales tax.
    Yes, retailers may not charge tax, including state and local sales taxes on items that are tax-exempt during the sales tax holiday weekend. The sales of clothing and shoes priced at less than $100 are exempted from sales taxes.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • MS_new pastor_Page_1.tiff Local church welcomes new pastor

    For one of Edmond’s newest pastors, faith and family intersect on a personal level.
    Sam Powers, pastor at Edmond 1st United Methodist Church, 305 E. Hurd St., and his family arrived in mid-May and his first Sunday in the pulpit was the second one in June. He and his wife Sheryl Heaton Powers, have two children — Kyla will be an eighth-grader at Cheyenne Middle School and David will be a fifth-grader at John Ross Elementary.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • pm_Ramona Paul.jpg Keith, 5 others to receive service awards

    The 2014 Door-Opener Awards Gala dinner and silent auction Sept. 4, benefitting ASTEC Charter Schools, will recognize five outstanding Oklahomans and one Kansan for lifetime contributions made toward helping others in society maximize potential and achieve dreams.
    Those selected to receive a Door-Opener Award at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel event include Dr. Harvey Dean, Pittsburg, Kan.; Toby Keith and Tricia Covel, Norman; Former Gov. George P. Nigh, Edmond; the late Dr. Ramona Paul, Edmond; and Natalie Shirley, Oklahoma City.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Anderson Properties continues to grow

    Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties recently announced the acquisition of Tulsa-based Prudential Alliance Realty, an eight-office, 150-agent brokerage operating in Tulsa and Oklahoma City and Edmond.
    The transaction gives Anderson Properties, a full-service real estate agency a total of 38 offices and more than 600 agents.

    July 28, 2014

  • police car.jpg Enid man injured following pursuit

    Larry Lynn Edwards was taken to St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center following the 11:32 p.m. crash on 30th Street, just north of Fox Drive, with head and internal body injuries.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Texas man critical after ATV crash

    Edward Alan Bourland, 37, of San Angelo, Texas, was taken from the scene of the 3 p.m. collision by Eagle Med and flown to OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City.

    July 26, 2014

  • Logan County pays off jail tax early, seeks new one

    Logan County is paying off a sales tax ahead of schedule and needs a new one to be able to afford funding jail operation and maintenance, officials said.
    Citizens vote on the county sales tax which is split for redistribution by state law. The tax is collected by the Oklahoma Tax Commission and redistributed back to the county as specified by voters.
    In 2005, citizens passed a 10-year sales tax, scheduled to end next month, to fund the building, operation and maintenance of the county jail, which operates on a $1.3 million budget. Jail capacity is 188 without anyone in a holding cell or a temporary bunk. Thursday it was holding 130 inmates, said Logan County Chief Deputy Richard Stephens.

    July 26, 2014

  • MS_Andy Billups.jpg Local man relies on experience in July 4 emergency

    Andy Billups just happened to have gained experience as a combat zone firefighter/medic while he was serving as a civilian contractor in Iraq.
    The Edmond businessman just happened to have a friend with a place on Grand Lake where he has been viewing Independence Day fireworks for a number of years, and he just happened to be there July 4.
    And he just happened to be relaxing on a hammock when he heard a some kids making a commotion.
    Located two blocks east of Disney on State Highway 28 in the foothills of the Ozark Mountain Range in northeast Oklahoma, the 59,000-plus surface acre Grand Lake is known for its state parks, marinas, restaurants, motels and fishing.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Goo Goo.jpg The Goo Goo Dolls: A long way from making racket

    Group in concert with Doughtry and Plain White T's Aug. 5 at the Enid Event Center

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Navy Honor_1_BV.jpg ‘She’s my rock’: Family honors sailor who goes beyond service

    Kimberly Henry has a job in Navy intelligence and beyond that, has committed to hundreds of hours of volunteer work throughout her tours of duty.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo