Biologists Puzzled By 'Black Goo' In Green Country Creek

Friday, June 6th 2014, 12:34 am
By: Tess Maune

Hundreds of fish have been found dead in a small Green Country creek. Black globs were also discovered in the creek that eventually feeds into Keystone Lake. Several state agencies are investigating what killed the fish.

Wildlife biologists said finding dead fish in high numbers happens; many times by natural environmental causes, but it's the black goo that's concerning.

Bubbling up out of Euchee Creek is a dark black substance that has environmentalists stumped.

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality said a fisherman reported he saw several thousand fish floating along a three mile stretch, surrounded by what looked like oil.

The ODEQ said it found more than 600 dead fish, of all species, a day later. When News On 6 was on the creek Thursday, there were only about a dozen fish.

The Wildlife Department says there are many causes for fish kills this time of year; algae blooms can lower oxygen levels, causing fish to die, but that's common in ponds, not places with flowing water, like a creek.

Biologists said some sort of deadly run-off materials could have washed into the water with the recent rain and killed the fish, but what can't be explained quite yet are the spots in the water that appear to be boiling with black blobs.

Environmental workers said they have been coming out and testing the same spot every week for the past four years; they said they've never found anything like this.

The creek runs through Cushing, the "Pipeline Crossroads of the World," so environmentalists said an oil leak or spill hasn't been ruled out.

News On 6 reporter Tess Maune said the substance broke up like a clump of sand and smelled like mud.

Environmentalists said there is another possibility, a sewage line break.

The ODEQ, the Oklahoma Oil Commission and the Sac and Fox Nation have all taken water samples, but the results won't be ready for about ten days. The Wildlife Department said it hasn't seen any impact on the Cimarron River or Keystone Lake.

There haven't been any reports of illness.