Front Porch Blog

Shenandoah Fish Kill Troubles Biologists

(From the Page News and Courier.)

About 50 fish were found dead in two different locations along the Shenandoah River earlier last week, and biologists say they have no idea why.

On March 20, a few dozen smallmouth bass, minnows and suckers were found dead along the South Fork near Port Republic, says Don Kain of the Valley office of the state Department of Environmental Quality.

The next day, March 21, 26 redbreast sunfish were found dead along the North Fork of the river downstream from Woodstock.

Something else for George Allen to do when he gets bored campaigning in Iowa and wants to be a Vigrinia Senator again.

The fish kills are nothing new in the extremely polluted Shenandoah River valley. But, this year, there have been a tremendous increase in the amount of “intersex” fish – fish with both male and female reproductive characteristics, which has added to the confusion.

ast year’s fish kill in the South Fork of the Shenandoah River resulted in the loss of about 80 percent of the adult smallmouth bass and redbreast sunfish, according to the DEQ. The same thing happened two years ago in the North Fork of the Shenandoah River.

“There is some indication that we may be going into another one of those cycles,” Kain said. “The previous fish kills started out about this time of year and with very low numbers.”

Kain said the recent dead fish have his department in a state of confusion.

“The thing that’s odd is that normally when something occurs that kills fish, you would have thousands dead,” he said. “The other thing that’s unusual, is that we see live healthy fish in the same place where the dead fish are.”

A task force of local geologists is in to help solve the mystery of the fish kills. But, no need to worry, says Kain. He indicates that there is problems with handling or eating any fish that you might catch.

Read the whole thing here.





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