Thousands of catfish cleared from Allegan County yards after flooding

Posted at 8:10 PM, Jun 25, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-25 20:10:31-04

GUN PLAIN TOWNSHIP--Wednesday evening we told you about thousands of catfish that washed up on the lawns of Allegan County residents.

The fish are gone, but residents remain upset that the township isn't stepping in.

We spoke to residents who were affected by the catfish and flooding, but Thursday we were able to speak to the pond owner himself.

"I didn't plant them, and I didn't call for the rain. People build right here in a low area and try and blame me for it," said Jack Witt, the pond owner.

West Michigan's rain forced Witt's pond to overflow, and led to an overspill of fish.

"There were thousands, I'm not kidding. I've never seen so many in my life," said Marsha Holden, a nearby resident.

Marsha Holden spent most of Wednesday catching fish from her yard and says in the 37 years she's lived here, she's seen flooding, but nothing quite like this.

"The whole neighborhood is affected by it because it runs all the way down to the end of the road," she said.

Holden blames the township for not helping out, while others blame the pond's owner.

However, Witt says it's not his fault, and that the problem started when the county built two new roads.

"The roads all went around the lake and they built the roads through the lake and cut off all of the access where the rivers and dams went down to Gun River, then the problem started," Witt said.

Witt also tells us the Township mentioned putting a drain near the pond, but the effort was voted down, leaving three drains entering the pond, and no drainage coming out.

"Anybody in their right mind would know it won't hold that much water," Holden said.

Holden believes the issue should be resolved by the DNR or township, but they tell Fox 17 that they don't have the resources to take matters into their own hands.

"If they don't have the resources to do it, how do they expect us to have the resources to do it," Holden said.

Township Supervisor, Michael Vandenberg told FOX 17 that the health department says there is no health risk at this time, and that residents are still responsible for the cleanup.