COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Fish in Fountain Creek are in peril.
“We’ve got a healthy population of fish in this creek and so, the potential for significant damage is there,” said Kyle Davidson, public information officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials say the fish population was in the thousands, but that number has changed after a tanker truck carrying 8,000 gallons of fuel rolled over, leaking into the creek Friday morning.
Officials say the spill is flowing downstream, going as far south as the Pikes Peak International Raceway.
“We’re definitely seeing more fish that have been killed in the areas where there are more rapids or there’s more churning water,” Davidson said.
In just a 300-foot section of the creek, Parks and Wildlife officers recovered 20 dead fish, including a flathead chub – a species of concern for the state because of its low numbers in Colorado.
The smell of gasoline is still strong, serving as a reminder to take safety precautions.
“As the water flows, the gas will dilute, but I mean, it was a pretty big plume so it’s gonna take a little while. I would say until further notice, don’t be in the water,” Davidson said.
For now, officers will be busy over the next couple of days.
“Our wildlife officers and biologists are spread out in about mile distances, maybe a little bit more in some places. And they’re basically taking estimates and doing water quality samples, and kind of watching where that plume of gas is going,” Davidson said.
Wildlife officials expect to have a total number of fish killed from the fuel in three to four days.