Initial Test Results Blame Nutrients, E.coli for Massive Fish Kill in Gasper River

Jun 10, 2019

Gasper River
Credit Kentucky Afield

State officials are closer to learning the cause of a massive fish kill in the Gasper River in south central Kentucky.

Investigators previously found decreased oxygen levels in the water following the near-total fish kill that occurred over the Memorial Day weekend.  Now, water samples have revealed levels of nutrients and E.coli. 

Robin Hartman, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, says several factors could have contributed to the drop in oxygen.

“The warm weather, the heavy amount of rain, algae bloom, agriculture runoff, the unusually high temperatures and different things that we’re experiencing," Hartman explained.

State officials are still waiting on additional testing to learn exactly where the contamination came from and how to prevent a similar fish kill from happening again.

Hartman says she doesn’t know how long it might take to re-populate the Gasper River, which begins in Logan County and ends in Warren County where it drains into Barren River.