Up to 5,000 fish dead in Alameda Creek

Investigators are still trying to determine what led to a major fish kill in Fremont this weekend. Between 3,000 and 5,000 fish were found dead in a segment of Alameda Creek between Mission Boulevard and the train overpass in Niles.

The fish apparently died due to lack of oxygen in the water, but investigators are still trying to determine why the oxygen levels had decreased, said Paul Piraino of the Alameda County Water District. Possible explanations are runoff from the first storm of the season Friday night or a pipe failure at Dublin San Ramon Services district which resulted in a discharge that flowed into Alameda Creek.

Tests should be completed on Thursday.

Matt Artz


  1. What on earth would kill that many fish in 48 hours? Lack of oxygen? Eighty percent of the water in the reported area runs over rocks, boulders, and concrete slabs that force oxygen back into the water. Maybe someone should take a second look. The first storm of the season was a sprinkle that was mostly absorbed before it could turn into runoff.

  2. Adam: First of all the water in the reported area does not run over rocks and boulders. You are thinking of Niles Canyon which is just a short distance northeast of the reported location. The area mentioned above is very flat and has a stable flow which does not aerate the water well. This part of the creek is very different from Niles Canyon because it has been turned into a flood control channel that is probably more than 200 feet wide.
    Also, if you go to the USGS water data website you will see that the “sprinkle” you mentioned caused a peak flow of about 236 cfs (cubic feet per second, or about 150,917 gpm-gallons per minute). That sounds like a lot and it is, but the Alameda Creek can take much more.
    Something else regarding your comment of someone taking a second look: just because the Tri-City Beat didn’t write a good article with thorough information doesn’t mean that you should be cynical. I walk on the Alameda Creek Trail everyday with my dogs, and since Monday the Water District, the East Bay Park District, the Fish and Game Dept, the Water Quality Control Board, and a slew of others have been out on boats and with ground crews taking samples and surveying the whole thing. They appear to be genuinely concerned and are taking what in my mind appears to be good action.
    In talking to some of their crews, they still don’t know what caused all the oxygen in the water to decrease, but it’s gone. If you look at the water, it is real murky and very dark. Alameda Creek water has never been pretty, but this is far worse than I ever remember seeing. You have to remember that their hasn’t been any rain since March, which means that there is a lot of tar, grease, oil, and heavy metals built on the roads and urban areas are receiving their fall over-fertilization right now as well. (Side note: lawn fertilizers -which are almost always applied to often and in too large of quantities- are one of the leading causes of surface and ground water contamination). This was my two cents, which turned into a little bit more. I just wish that reporters would actually care about getting accurate and thorough information when they go to write a story. There’s a lot more information out there than what is being reported. All you have to do is take a walk down there for yourself.

  3. I rode through the canyon Saturday around 3 pm and the river looked foamy from mission up about a mile. It looked suspect, but I chalked it up to the overnight storm. It may be related.

  4. Umm…Tom? I can either chalk up your response as either too much meds..or, not enough. Glad you got your facts straight bro but try and get a grip ok?

  5. I’m going to speculate that the fish did in fact die from oxygen depleted water, caused by Tom sucking the wind out of the Alameda Creek on one of his morning walks.

  6. Tom, Thank you for the information on the Alameda Creek fish kill.
    I do not understand the personal attacks by the other peoples comments. I think it is a sad comment about someone contributing important information. I would be interested if it is indeed run off of fertilizers, they contain a lot of oxygen depleting chemicals, This is our drinking water

  7. Tom, thanks for the info.

    When you have one reporter trying to cover a city of 210,000 and 99 square miles, I can understand if their stories lack in substance.

    Since newspapers must write for a sixth grade reading level, according to the Global Language Monitor, I don’t think most people care about cfs or gpm rates.

  8. Tom, thank you for the further information. I am curious to find out what caused this situation.

  9. My property line shares a border with Alameda creek. I grew up swimming, fishing, biking, and walking my dogs on and in Alameda creek. I drive through Niles Canyon twice a day. In over 30 years, I have never seen anything like this. My 2nd point was that I didnt need USGS rainfall data and an assumtion of being “cynical” due to one’s opinion on a failed newspaper to “educate” on what may have happend.
    “a pipe failure at Dublin San Ramon Services district which resulted in a discharge that flowed into Alameda Creek” is what I found interesting. Still no further details on that yet.
    Maybe you guys need to go throw your “I’m right you’re wrong” on a MENSA blog and leave the 6th graders to have a say without being cast out of what you find correct.

  10. I overstepped myself, didn’t I. If I didn’t actually remember having written that, I would think I was a prick too. Sorry Adam. I’ve never seen anything like this before either, and it worrys me as well. I just get frustrated when there is more information out there than what reporters are caring to scrounge around for.

  11. No worries Tom. I’m just tired of most people here in automatic attack mode who want to portray themselves as the only ones with an educated opinion (hence the 6th grade reading level remark). Obviously, you’re not one of them. Thanks and take care.

  12. Any update on the fish kill yet? I grew up learning to fly fish in Alameda Creek in Niles Canyon. I miss living in Alameda County and especially miss the creek. It breaks my heart to hear of this recent fish kill.

  13. I used to swim there all the time they have a big damn with a drop off we used to jump off the top cement foundation about 30ft high,then we used to swim at a smaller dam that had 2 square holes the water shot through,we would lie down on the deep side and get sucked through the holes and over the the drop off about 5 ft below it was a great place,but last time I was there we got our car towed tge cops up there are real priks,sad to hear about the fish.it is a great memory for me.

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