Restitution may be sought for gas spill's wildlife damages
When a full account is known - possibly by Thursday - the Wildlife Division will assess whether it will ask for financial restitution of the losses, an agency official said.
Making matters difficult to assess just how many fish and wildlife were killed by the spill - which occurred Saturday - is the heavy amount of aquatic vegetation found in the channel.
So far the agency has collected two garter snakes, one water snake, two Eastern painted turtles, one musk turtle, one snapping turtle and one muskrat.
Fish also have been recovered including a number of small sunfish, a few small largemouth bass, and one 14-inch bullhead worth about $7, said Rick Louttit, the Wildlife Division's agent in charge of the investigation.
The to-date fish kill total amounts to around $26, though the snakes, turtles and muskrats may be worth as much as $20 each, Louttit said.
"We need to see if there are any more dead fish or animals and then we'll make a determination on whether to seek restitution but a lot of agencies are involved and they might each seek restitution for the clean-up costs," Louttit said.
Louttit said that restitution is typically based upon how common is the species, its size and other factors. An endangered turtle, for example, would have a higher value than one of the more common painted turtles, Louttit said.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn