Potomac River fish kill

Discussion in 'MARYLAND RIVER TALK' started by nalley1952, Feb 21, 2007.

  1. nalley1952

    nalley1952 New Member

    Messages:
    40
    State:
    Maryland
    I got this info off another board.

    A pretty large fish kill appears to have happened in the vicinity of Swan Pt in the Potomac River (mostly white perch and some small stripers). We're interested in finding out how widespread the kill was, and whether it is restricted to certain types of environment. Oh, and if you find anything, report it to the DNR fish kill people too.

    Pictures to come.

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  2. TIM HAGAN

    TIM HAGAN New Member

    Messages:
    1,236
    State:
    Walkersvil
    here is what i got from Maryland fisheries today on the fish kill seems they say just what i was saying to cold to fast.



    Hi Tim, the article below was in the Washington Post today and it pretty much echoes what Chris Luckett, from MDE, told us yesterday. Tim and I both discussed it as well, and it's possible that the perch did get trapped, particularly in areas where ice was pretty thick along the shore (like one of your pictures showed).



    ENVIRONMENT

    Natural Causes Blamed for Fish Kill in Lower Potomac




    By David A. Fahrenthold <http://projects.washingtonpost.com/staff/email/david+a.+fahrenthold/>
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Friday, February 23, 2007; Page B03

    The die-off of 50,000 white perch in the lower Potomac River last weekend appears to have been a natural event in which severe cold killed the fish when winds and tides trapped them in shallow water, a Maryland official said.

    Charles Poukish, a environmental program manager with the Maryland Department of the Environment, said investigators had found no evidence that the fish were killed by pollution or a disease. Instead, he said, the fish seem to have died of "thermal shock" while trapped in water colder than they could stand.




    "We're pretty convinced that it was the conditions, the winter conditions," Poukish said yesterday.

    The fish were discovered this week in two spots along the Potomac bank in Southern Maryland. Most were found near Swan Point, in lower Charles County, but 1,500 to 2,000 washed up further downstream, in the Tall Timbers area of St. Mary's County, Poukish said.

    Poukish said some of the fish showed signs that they had been under stress before they died, including blisters on their scales. But he said the primary cause of the fish kill seemed to be an unusual combination of strong winds and tides, which kept the fish from returning to warmer, deeper waters.

    "We can rule out that water quality was an issue," Poukish said, after tests showed no evidence of abnormal pollution.

    He said fish kills of that size are not unusual in Maryland. But some activists concerned with the river said they were surprised at the scale of the die-off, which left beaches littered with dead perch from four to eight inches long.

    "Could it just be what they said, just bad luck for 50,000 fish? Yeah, could be," said Ed Merrifield, an environmentalist whose title is Potomac Riverkeeper. But, he said, "it would be good to follow up on that, as best we can."