Wildlife Officials Say Recent Tanker Crash Killed Fish
GATEWAY, Colo. Wildlife officials say a recent tanker rollover that leaked petroleum into a Colorado waterway is now to blame for killing a large amount of fish. Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists are investigating the fish mortality. On Jan. 25, a tanker carrying 8,000 gallons of gasoline and fuel crashed on Highway 141 near Gateway. The tanker rolled down into the West Creek and caught on fire. Wildlife managers responded quickly to the scene to assess impacts on wildlife and did see and smell some petroleum downstream. Since the accident, wildlife officials have found large amounts of dead fish in the creek including brown and rainbow trout, sculpin and crayfish. Officials say a big concern is that this crash only happened about 10 miles away from the Dolores River. "That is a concern if it does go into the Dolores River, then of course, you start looking into that as well. All of it is part of our investigation. We're looking at how far it went down, how far of a stretch it was affected and will continue to do so in the weeks and months ahead," said Mike Porras, Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Aquatic biologists say a combination of the petroleum and the heat from the fire are what caused the severe stress - and ultimately death of the fish. Wildlife officials said once they've fully cleaned up the area, they hope to restock the area with fish.