Fish kill on the Middle Tyger River, DNR investigating

Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 11:15 PM EDT
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LYMAN, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - You may notice dead fish along the shore of the Middle Tyger River.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is investigating a fish kill.

A fish kill is a sudden death of a large number of fish, over a short time, within a certain area. And that area, specifically, is behind the Middle Tyger Library.

Brad Kiser knew something was fishy, as he frequents the river often.

“We come here and fish, occasionally. It’s usually just small fish,” Kiser said.

The fish weren’t biting that day. When Kiser looked down, he quickly figured out why.

“There were dead fish everywhere,” Kiser continues, “This is the first time I’ve seen something like this.”

Kiser snapped a few photos and reported to the DNR. The department nor the Tyger River Foundation were aware of what happened until Saturday, Sep. 17.

Greg Lucas, with the SCDNR, says he understands why residents are alarmed. His team found crappie, largemouth bass, and other assorted species floating by.

“Fish kills are kind of upsetting, just like any time you see a lot of species that die off,” said Lucas.

Lucas explains that fish kills can happen naturally, such as during the Summer when fish get trapped in areas with low oxygen levels, or environmentally.

“It could be pollution,” Lucas said, “It could be an accidental release of, let’s say, fluid from a water treatment plant. It just kind of runs the gamut.”

Lucas says fish kills happen from time-time on lakes and such, but they’re uncommon on a body of water such as the Tyger River. The DNR collected fish to determine the cause of the kill and if any fines are necessary.

Kiser’s main concern is whether this will affect the Lyman community.

“Drinking water is upstream from here,” said Kiser, “So, we kind of wanted to know what exactly is in it.”

Lucas says it depends on what their investigation finds. For now, he suggests visitors stay away.

“Luckily, these things are pretty short-lived,” said Lucas, “If some release of some sort of chemical is causing that, that’s usually caught pretty quickly.”

DHEC’s role is to determine the cause of the fish kill. And if any fines are necessary, DHEC would issues them. SCDNR’s roles is to determine the value of the resource, in monetary terms, and report to DHEC. DNR is still working on its fish kill report.

The number of dead fish is undetermined, but we will follow up once DHEC’s findings are released.