"Cocktail of Rotted, Maggoty Fish" is a Real Stink in Grafton


Grafton residents complain that a million of these produce quite a stench. - FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/COTTERGARAGE
  • flickr.com/photos/cottergarage
  • Grafton residents complain that a million of these produce quite a stench.
Now is not the time to visit scenic Grafton, Illinois. The town smells to high-heaven thanks to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' controversial decision to drain a nearby lake.

The emptying of the shallow, 2,500-acre Swan Lake in nearby Calhoun County resulted in millions of dead fish rotting in the mud, and now the odor from the carcasses has drifted east over Grafton.

"All I need to do is step out on my porch in Grafton and smell the rotting dead fish," resident Tom Foster told the Alton Telegraph yesterday. "It is a cocktail of rotted, maggoty fish or a churned cocktail of parts of them. It is pollution on a large scale, and you can smell it in the air."

IDNR officials contend that the draining of the lake is necessary to preserve the ecosystem inside the Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge. Besides, they say, most of the fish killed from draining the lake were the invasive Asian carp.

"If we saw sport fish like bluegill, bass and such, the drawdowns would not be necessary, and we would not do them," said refuge manager John Mabery.

That's of little solace, though, to local residents such as Foster who say authorities have ignored their complaints about the odor.

"...if the EPA people I have been trying to get down here don't think this is pollution, then each of them should get a truckload of this dumped on their front lawn or be made to drink the water in that lake," said Foster.


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