Water worries for residents as dead fish float on Fancher Creek

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Dozens of dead fish are floating to the surface along a Fresno County waterway and people living nearby are worried about their water.

Fancher Creek flows from Pine Flat all the way into Fresno, mostly to let farmers get irrigation water.

But fish also use the water, except right now, for about 200 yards, all of them are dead.

Mason Conley walks his dog along Fancher Creek every morning and gets a good look at the water world.

"There's catfish, carp, blue gill," he said. "There's crawdads in there. Usually, there's turtles in there. I haven't seen any turtles."

But on a recent morning, a sinister sight floated into view.

"Over here is where I first saw them," he said as he pointed to part of the creek separating his property from another to the south. "You can see right there. That's a big one down there. There's another big one over there."

Dozens of dead fish collected along the side of the creek, up against the branches of the bushes shading the deepest part, and by the bridge over Fancher Avenue.

"What was your concern?" an Action News reporter asked him.

"That something was either dumped in the water or some sickness is going on," Conley said.

Conley and all his neighbors are on well water. His wife is pregnant, so they're drinking bottled water for now, just in case, but he's worried about even showering if there's a fish-killing chemical in the water.

The creek is fairly shallow where Conley lives, so we checked upstream where it's deeper and couldn't find any dead fish.

Neighbors downstream told us they still see fish swimming around every day, but dead fish float to the surface every year water levels are low, so it's more of a drought problem than a chemical issue.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife manage the creek and we called and emailed them several times Tuesday, but haven't heard back.

Conley also filed a report with the EPA because he's still suspicious about the water quality.
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