Murray Fish Kill

Discussion in 'LOCAL SOUTH CAROLINA TALK' started by FastenalFishing, Aug 23, 2005.

  1. FastenalFishing

    FastenalFishing New Member

    Messages:
    41
    State:
    Boiling Springs, S.C.
    Anyone heard about the fish dying at Murray. I heard the stripers were dying by the hundreds. :crying:
     
  2. RiverratSC

    RiverratSC Active Member

    Messages:
    1,646
    State:
    Gaffney, SC
    I read about a few weeks ago on the DNR's website.
     

  3. whichrod

    whichrod New Member

    Messages:
    102
    State:
    columbia sc
    the talk around here is off the record there saying about 2 to 4 thousand died the press release says 600 died , at the time of the kill the fish were at about 60 feet of water , they never floated to the top cuz of the low water temps
     
  4. FastenalFishing

    FastenalFishing New Member

    Messages:
    41
    State:
    Boiling Springs, S.C.
    I heard there were a lot of Bigguns. I hope it won't mess things up for this winter. I like chasing those schools in the river.
     
  5. zebcohobo202

    zebcohobo202 New Member

    Messages:
    63
    It's not just striper that are dying brothers its all manner of fish on murray and it happens every year. The extreme heat and humidity we endure depletes the oxygen in the top two thirds of the water column. During the dog days of summer all fish in the lake inhabit this section of water at or above the thermocline, as any water below the thermocline lacks sufficiant oxygen. So, imagine all these fish suspended in the lake. As the water temp. rises oxygen levels fall. These fish can't go deeper than the thermocline so there's no where to go but up. So, we have lots of suffocated fish bloated on the surface. I stop and inspect most fish I encounter and I have recovered about 5 lures so far.
     
  6. flatheadhunterx

    flatheadhunterx Active Member

    Messages:
    1,374
    State:
    South Carolina
    there has been alot off talk about this on the striper kings website. they been getting up to 100 fish a day off the water stripers and large mouth mainly. it has to do with the running of gen. pump # 5 taking all the good water water out of the lake says they are gonna investigate this cause it is only suppose to run in emergencies because of this reason.
     
  7. zebcohobo202

    zebcohobo202 New Member

    Messages:
    63
    Running turbine #5 is not causing a lake wide die off. Thats just preposterous. Whom ever started that line hasn't done their homework. What does "sucking all the good water out" mean? All the intake vents on all the towers are all the same. If #5 were turned "in case of emergency?" the extra current generated would be minimal at best. Definently not enough to cause the carnage you see, stop and think about it.
     
  8. MUDHOLE KID

    MUDHOLE KID New Member

    Messages:
    1,178
    State:
    Anderson,S.C.
    What's the answer (202)? It's been hot all over S.C. Is Murray that stagnated? Can the fish not adapt? Do all the fish live in that 2/3 of the water column? I personally think it's more that heat.Have you done your homework? :D :D :D Help us out.
     
  9. MUDHOLE KID

    MUDHOLE KID New Member

    Messages:
    1,178
    State:
    Anderson,S.C.
    I've found this little letter interesting.Fred this probally sounds familiar :D
    :D

    Please provide us more details to the answer you gave Mr. Keith and to the actual running times for unit #5. While we agree that poor water quality probably killed the fish, what was the cause of the poor water quality? Some people might want to answer with a simple statement of hot weather, but we have experienced many days of sustained hot weather since 1991. Some people might want to stop with the simple answer of heavier than normal rainfall. But we have experienced many other years with heavier rainfall than we have had both in 1991 as well as this year. While both of these conditions do cause poor water quality, let me explain to you why we do not believe and accept a simple answer that they alone were the cause of the recent fish kill.
    We are very informed members of the general public and have a better than 20-year history of Lake Murray, a better than average knowledge of striped bass, and a general understanding of water quality. As we learned that Lake Murray was going to be drawn down for 3-years to have the dam strengthened, we became very concerned with Lake Murray experiencing a major fish kill. Warren Turner, current President of the National Striped Bass Association, past 3-term President of the Greenville Striper Kings, and member of the Midland Striper Club in Columbia, even spoke to Gene Hayes (SCDNR biologist) 4-years ago about the likelihood of the thermal squeeze killing the striped bass since the lake would be 14-feet lower. The answer was that yes the lake could be more vulnerable under extreme conditions. While the lake level was down the drought conditions we have experienced for several years ended and the summer temperature was high and still no major fish kill. The water level returned to its normal level and our fears began to dissolve; that is, until 3-weeks ago when we first learned that SCE&G was planning to implement unit #5 in its down stream water quality improvement plan for re-licensing.

    Let’s talk history for a moment! In the mid to late 1980's Lake Murray had become known as one of the best striped bass waters in the United States in both quality and quantity of striped bass. Our records show that a tournament with a 4-fish weigh-in required 50-plus pounds to place in the top-3. However, the water quality on Lake Murray was fast becoming substandard for striped bass during the late July through August hot summer months. Several fish kills occurred including a major fish kill on Lake Murray in 1991. Our fishing club, along with others, worked with the SCDNR biologist to identify the cause of the problem. The Greenville Striper Kings fishing club actually provided $2500 which was part of the funds SCDNR used to receive a matching federal grant to help fund the study to find the cause. Ultimately, the SCDNR and SCE&G agreed that the operation of Turbine #5 was the cause of the problem in creating "poor water quality" in the lower basin to the point of causing the fish kills. The reason that SCE&G's turbine #5 causes poor water quality is because it pulls the layer of water that has a sustainable level of oxygen from the lake leaving in its place water that is poor in "water quality". Let us provide a little more details. According to dissolved oxygen tests done by SCDNR and Clemson graduate students (by the way, Warren, was personally involved and present during some of this data collection), by August of each year, much of the water above the Lake Murray mid-lake pool (area upstream from Shull Island) becomes substandard for adult striped bass after the thermal squeeze begins. Thermal squeeze is that period when the water surface is too hot for adult striped bass and the lower water levels are devoid of oxygen due to the decaying process of dead fish, plants, and animals that have sunken to the bottom. The decaying process uses oxygen from the cool deep waters. During years of heavier rainfall more matter is washed into the lake resulting in more decay and thus more oxygen is used. Therefore, as stated in the beginning of this letter, some people might say the cause of poor water quality is too much rain. After the thermal squeeze starts, there is very little good water for adult striped bass from Dreher Island upstream and only small areas from Dreher Island downstream to Spence Island. The only large water area in Lake Murray able to sustain adult striped bass during the hot summer months is the lower pool area between the dam and Spence Island.

    Here is the kicker! Since the water above the lower pool is of poor water quality, once the thermal squeeze starts there is no renewable source of good water quality coming in to the lower pool. In other words, what level of good water quality we have in the lower pool must last until the end of thermal squeeze and the return of a new source of water that is both cool and of an sustainable level of oxygen. As a result, the SCDNR and the SCE&G agreed on a “limited use” of turbine #5 during the July-August period. The more turbine #5 is used after the thermal squeeze starts, the less time Lake Murray has with acceptable water quality to sustain adult striped bass. Thus, under the current situation without the installation of oxygen lines in Lake Murray, our only defense in maintaining an acceptable water quality during the hot summer is the limited use of SCE&G’s turbine #5.

    We are aware that the federal re-licensing agreement to operate the hydro generation plant at Lake Murray requires SCE&G to improve water quality downstream. It is our fear, that SCE&G, in an attempt to sanction the use of unit#5 to provide the level of improvement in water quality down stream, has been conducting tests using unit #5 more than the limited use agreement authorized. It is our understanding that the limited use agreement calls for unit #5 to be the last unit on and the first unit off during the hot weather periods. If SCE&G has used unit #5 more than the limited time provided in the agreement, we do not agree with the statement made that “the fish die-off is not the result of anything related to SCE&G”. In an attempt to resolve the total cause of the poor water quality resulting in the recent fish kill, and to be able to implement a sustainable solution for the prevention of another fish kill in the future, we are requesting SCE&G to voluntarily disclose the full details of the operation of unit#5 since July 1, 2005. We would like to know the dates and times when it was turned on and when it was turned off, along with the status of the other units. We also want an explanation of the reason the unit was on during this period and why its running could not have been limited or delayed until September. Obviously, if testing was going on to see the effect of running unit #5 on the water quality down stream; it was necessary that it be done during the hot period to get the true results. However, if SCE&G approved such testing it was done as a calculated risk to the water quality in Lake Murray; and, this risk, has now bitten both SCE&G and the fisherpersons that frequent Lake Murray to catch striped bass. If this is the case, full acknowledgement and acceptance of responsibility should be accepted by the management of SCE&G. If this is not the case, we hope that SCE&G will take the water quality in Lake Murray into consideration and plan for the implementation of oxygen lines to improve water quality both in the lake proper and in the river and lakes downstream, as you seek re-licensing.

    Thank you in advance for your corporation. I am confident that SCE&G wants to maintain the reputation of being a good steward of the Natural Resources that the taxpayers and fisherpersons of SC have paid for to be stocked and maintained in Lake Murray.
     
  10. blackwaterkatz

    blackwaterkatz Active Member

    Messages:
    3,659
    State:
    Andrews, SC
    Good post, Mudhole. I've been following the thread, found it interesting. Good comments by all parties. I'm still not sure of the answer, but #5 turbine seems to be a real possibility.
     
  11. zebcohobo202

    zebcohobo202 New Member

    Messages:
    63
    Yeah that was an interesting letter Mudhole. It seems unlikely to me that running an extra turbine for a month would cause such disaster. While I am not a marine biologist by any means I am an avid reader. I came across the "shrinking thermocline" theory through an article I read in Field and Streams Complete Fisherman(purchased at Books a Million). This theory seems more plausable to me. What's going on on your lake? Do you not see dead fish? It seems every one has a different view on what's happening. What ever the cause you can bet SCE&G is not going to accept full responsibility. I heard a feller say all the extra rain has increased mercury levels in the water. Sound feasable? Who knows.
     
  12. MUDHOLE KID

    MUDHOLE KID New Member

    Messages:
    1,178
    State:
    Anderson,S.C.
    I'm on hartwell and we see no huge numbers of dead fish.You'll have the floaters,but not in mass numbers.I sure don't have the answers or I'd be making an effort to correct it.I do know generation though.You have to understand how much water goes through a turbine.It's not a gallon or two.If this intake is in the postion to deplete the high quaility water it's gonna have a serious affect on the fish.It don't take but just a few mintues for a fish to go into shock.Let's say those fish near the dam are in that sweet spot,they start generation on #5 ,to me it would be like covering your face with a pillow.There's huge amounts of water took from that depth,,,,super fast,,,it just puts the fish into total cunfusion if you ask me .I've got it modeled in my mind to what it would look like and how the fish would react ,but I'm no Hi-Tech feller.I will say this though.fish I think can adapth to heat because it's a slow process,they change,they find "good water" because they can.To kill fish it takes something quick to throw them into that shock.I just dont think lake murray is so stagnated the fish can't find good water.As much rain as we've had(although hot)the rivers are pushing in good water.No I don't have the answer,but I do have my own way of thinking and I'm thinking what they're saying has logic,becuse it's a sudden change in their atmosphere.Might as well just drop a bomb on them.I do predict a change though,because of the people and their concerns.Someone may have to face up to their facts,"EAT CROW"
     
  13. jim

    jim New Member

    Messages:
    2,579
    State:
    Jacksonville NC
    I think one thing this thread does point out is that it is best to determine all the facts before categorically dismissing any theory.The shrinking thermocline theory has been around for ever and is still valid.Most fishermen don't take the time to study the dynamics of a lakes water column or even understand the stratification that takes place.In fact if you ask anybody the question what is the one substance in the universe than expands when it cools few will answer "water".It seems that the number 5 turbine may be strategically placed to draw water from the thermocline area of the lake in which case it would be seriously depleting the good water.The fish kill doesn't have to take place in a specific area per se some of those fish may have wandered into areas of serious oxygen depletion and perished.I saw lots of dead fish at Santee a couple of weeks ago including a number of stripers so heat,stratification ,stress from being caught,and a reduction of the good water by turbine number 5 could all be contributing factors.Hopefully the weather will break soon and cool off.
     
  14. whichrod

    whichrod New Member

    Messages:
    102
    State:
    columbia sc
    you know i sell fishing supplies for a living and talk to all sorts of people, one tid bit of info i find iteresting is the steady decline of stripers there placing in murrey each year, there wanting to decrease the number of stripers so they will have bigger fish , the guides want more fish the dnr wants less, look for changing of the striper limits comming soon

    as for the fish kill , its alllllllllllllllllllll about sce&g money there not worried about killing fish when theres money to be made and a drove of experts that can counter any debate we have with there own paid for data in there favor
     
  15. flatheadhunterx

    flatheadhunterx Active Member

    Messages:
    1,374
    State:
    South Carolina
    thanks joey is was gonna copy and post that. my thoery is close to jims, from what i can understand turbine # 5 is around the same depth as the thermo line which would explain why it removes so much good water.