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Mountain Whitefish Die-Off In Yellowstone River Worries Wildlife Officials

Mountain whitefish.
Mountain whitefish.

Montana wildlife officials are expanding their search for further signs of a massive fish kill in the Yellowstone River. Over 1,000 dead mountain whitefish have been counted so far.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokeswoman Andrea Jones says it’s possible thousands more died and sank.
"The whitefish is a really good indicator of overall river health. They are native to this area. They show signs when the river is unhealthy. We take this as a serious situation. We’re not sure what’s causing this and that’s why we have a lot of testing going on at the moment."

The fish kill’s epicenter is south of Livingston. Most of the dead fish have been found from Pine Creek to the Carter’s Bridge area.

"And now we’re expanding our search – or survey zone – to the upper reaches and down to Springdale and beyond. We found a couple of dead whitefish in the Corwin Springs area, but we’re not seeing numbers in the hundreds yet."

Wildlife officials hope to have lab results in before the end of the week.

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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