Fish in Indiana pond killed by Darke County manure runoff


DARKE COUNTY — Runoff from a Darke County farmer’s manure application killed approximately 100 to 200 fish in a Jay County, Indiana, pond in January, according to a report by the Mercer County Soil and Water Conservation District.

On Jan. 11, the Mercer County Soil and Water Conservation District received a call from Matt Hoehn with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources about a possible manure runoff into a pond. The complainant had contacted the Indiana Department of Wildlife, alleging runoff from a field in Ohio had killed fish in his pond in Jay County.

Officials from both Ohio and Indiana sampled ammonia levels at several nearby locations and pinpointed the source as a field in Darke County owned by Dave Alig of Fort Recovery.

According to the investigation, Alig had applied steer manure to the soybean field on Dec. 11 and 12.

Neither IDW or ODNR is planning to issue a fine for the incident. The Mercer County SWCD is issuing the farmer a notice of violation, according to Mercer County District Technician Matt Heckler, who added Alig would work with the pond’s owner to restock the fish.

“It is never good to have an environmental impact after a nutrient application,” OSU Darke County Extension Educator Sam Custer said. “Sometimes a grower can do everything right but still have a runoff situation.”

“Our goal in Extension is to continue to do research to try and provide farmers all the possible tools that will continue to minimize these negative impacts as much as possible,” he added.

By Erik Martin

[email protected]

The writer may be reached at 937-569-4314. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to

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