Wednesday, December 28, 2016

And Yet Another Baltimore Fish Kill

About 6,000 fish were found to have died in eastern Baltimore County waterways, according to a Maryland Department of the Environment investigation.

Preliminary results point to algae-created toxins as the likely cause of the fish kill, which was discovered last week after dead fish were first seen in rivers that include the Gunpowder and Bird, said MDE spokesperson Jay Apperson Monday evening.

The kill has affected at least nine species: yellow perch, largemouth bass, bluegill sunfish, pumpkinseed sunfish, carp, black crappie, gizzard shad, spottail shiner and channel catfish.
. . .
The investigation has not shown any signs of pollution as a potential cause, suggesting instead that the kill is due to toxins produced by algae, he said.

"Monitoring has shown elevated cell counts of Karlodinium venifecum algae in the Gunpowder River," Apperson said. "We are awaiting results of laboratory tests for algae toxins and of fish tissue. The investigation is ongoing."
It's a little disingenuous to clear pollution of the blame, and then turn around and say that it was caused by an algae bloom. Toxic algae blooms, are generally acknowledged as being fueled by excess nutrients; in this case from the Baltimore area. If a similar bloom were to occur in a rural tributary with substantial chicken farming and crop land, I doubt if MDE would fail to point out the role of agriculture in exacerbating the problem.

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