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Blog > Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission > Troubles in River City and it doesn't rhyme with pool

Troubles in River City and it doesn't rhyme with pool

Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 02/01/2010 (1247 reads)
Stripped BassCalling the Susquehanna River “increasingly impaired,” the board of commissioners of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) today called on state and federal environmental agencies to expand efforts to determine the sources of pollution which are contributing to the demise of the river’s smallmouth bass fishery.

The board’s resolution, passed at its quarterly meeting, urges the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to step up their investigations, saying recent data confirms a serious problem exists. Commissioners cited evidence from a two-year water quality study coordinated by the U.S. Geological Survey and partially funded by the PFBC which found stress factors such as elevated water temperature and low dissolved oxygen concentrations during the critical May through July development period for smallmouth bass. The Commission contributed $400,000 to the study in an effort to discover the causes behind the fishery’s decline.

Problems were first detected in the middle reaches of the river in 2005, when PFBC biologists found unusually high numbers of dead or distressed smallmouth bass. They later determined that the affected fish were suffering from infections related to a common soil and water bacteria Flavobacterium columnare, or Columnaris. The disease is considered a secondary infection brought on by environmental or nutritional factors that stress fish, weakening their ability to cope with the bacterial agent. The same bacterium was discovered again in 2007 and 2008.
In other action, Commissioners:

• Approved a long-term lease agreement with Erie County’s Lawrence Park Golf Club to install fish passage structures at two impediments in Fourmile Creek to facilitate the movement of steelhead upstream. The structures will be funded with grants from DEP’s Coastal Zone Management Program and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Community Conservation Partnership Program.

• Authorized staff to pursue the acquisition of a public fishing access and conservation easement on the Little Juniata River that includes approximately 1,020 linear feet on one side of the river. The site is located along Barree Road in Porter Township, Huntingdon County, and the Commission stocks this portion of the river at a location on an adjoining property.

A complete copy of the meeting schedule and the full agenda for the meeting can be found on the Commission’s web site at www.fishandboat.com/minutes.htm. The mission of the Fish and Boat Commission is to protect, conserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources and provide fishing and boating opportunities.
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