Residents concerned over surge of dead fish in Rouge River

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Videos and pictures are getting hundreds of thousands of views on social media, bringing attention to the dead fish in the Rouge River. 

Obviously a concerning sight, but state agencies say this is not out of the ordinary. 

"It made me sick and it got into my clothing," said resident Emma Lockridge. "It was a horrific, horrible sight."

Thousands of dead Gizzard Shad fish have been seen floating in the Rouge River.

It's where factories like Marathon and US Ecology line the banks. Worried residents met with concerned state representatives at the Fort Street Bridge Thursday.  

"What would a reasonable person think if they came by here and see that, would they think everything is OK? Absolutely not," said Rep. Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit).

They think the dead fish indicate a bigger pollution issue and they are demanding state agencies to do more testing. They are taking matters into their own hands, collecting fish samples themselves. 

"I haven't had it tested yet, but that's the intent it's in my freezer," said Rep. Cynthia Johnson (D-Detroit).

The Department of Natural Resources which has been investigating this week has an explanation for the dead Gizzard Shad, who are cold sensitive.

"We do see Shad every year the specific location, the timing of it, and the size of the even varies quite a bit," said Jim Francis.

Francis, with the DNR, says because it was only one species affected - that's a clue they died of natural causes.

But, to be safe the fish were tested at a Michigan State University lab - testing that would indicate pollution.

"There would be signs that it was a pollution related event," he said.

FOX 2: "And at this point there is not?"

"There is nothing to indicate that at this point," said Francis.

FOX 2 reached out to the DEQ to see if water samples would be done now, but did not hear back in time for this story.

Residents are not convinced; they plan on pushing the issue.

"I don't know that we can wait and keep listening to the professionals who are saying things are OK, no it's not OK," said Johnson.