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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been reading, on Potomac River Anglers Club site, about a massive fish kill of croaker, flounder, rock, etc from Stratford Cliffs, up the Nomini, and down to Coles Point and the Lower Machodoc. Does anyone else have additional info on this? There is speculation as to whether it was caused by a huge discharge of raw sewage at Blue Plains because of a power SNAFU, or by a recent algae bloom and red tide depleting oxygen.
either way it is tragic for sport and commercial fishing.
 

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Yea..i saw quite a bit of dead fish float on top....i hope this won't make this year another **** fishing year. What is the url address to the Potomac Anglers Club
 

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http://potomacriver.tripod.com/

Try the above link, click on "message boards", then register for free and log-in.
 

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I saw a lot of the dead last Sunday but noticed all of them were small fish and apeared to be mostly bunker. This would seen to me to support some form of oxegen issue but I'm no biologist. I have seen a small pond that lost a huge amount of fish (Thousands!) due to no algea caused by several weeks of rain and clouds. (According VADGIF) Almost all lost fish wree small.

There were plenty of marks around #9 all on the bottom and we also found several nice stacks of fish and bait, but nothing was hitting. We found a lot of big marks on the bottom.
 

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If you look at this in a postive way just remeber that the fish that are surviving have adapted and reproduce other fish that can take these conditions. This could be a clue that these fish have adapted and have better chances of surviving next year if this happen...WHICH IS GREAT! So stop looking how bad this can be and look at the negatives but more we learn and what we can do to change to stop this from happening. Another good thing is that i have been paying attention in Biology...YES! [excited]
 

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Beacon, I was at Coles Point house last week and saw the dead fish. There were hundreds floating. Don't know what happened, but it was extensive. Many washed up on our beach which included many species.
 

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http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2006/062006/06062006/196958

Fish are dying in Potomac

Dead fish litter the beach underneath the Stratford Harbour cliffs. Officials from both Virginia and Maryland are investigating.

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Thousands have washed up on Westmoreland beaches between Colonial Beach and Coles Point.

Date published: 6/6/2006

By FRANK DELANO

Marine scientists in Maryland and Virginia are investigating a fish kill in the lower Potomac River where thousands of dead fish have washed up on Westmoreland County beaches between Colonial Beach and Coles Point.

"Environmental conditions in the river are definitely a major factor," said Julie Oberg of the Maryland Department of the Environment.

"There appears to be an extensive algae bloom that may be contributing to low dissolved-oxygen conditions in the river," she said.

Wilton "Tu" Parker of Montross said high tides Saturday and Sunday deposited thousands of dead fish on beaches beneath the Nomini Cliffs near Montross.

"I've never seen that many dead fish in my life," said Parker,

a 36-year-old Westmoreland County native. Parker said the dead fish included many species, including striped bass, croaker, perch, spot, shad and cow-nose sting rays.

"As far as I know, the kill stretches from Westmoreland State Park to, at least, the Lower Machodoc Creek. That's over 10 miles of river. Fish are dead in Nomini Creek all the way up to Prospect Bridge," Parker said.

Parker said many of the dead fish were large. "There were a few dead rock fish [striped bass] over 30 inches and lots of dead croaker up to 2 pounds," he said.

Over the weekend, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality investigated one fish kill in Maddox Creek near Colonial Beach and another in Ames Creek, a tributary of Lower Machodoc Creek near Coles Point.

Both kills were minor, said DEQ Pollution Response Manager Mark Alling. He said he found about 30 small menhaden and white perch on the two beaches about 20 miles apart.

"If there is a harmful algae bloom going on, it would be highly unusual this early in the season," he said.

Alling said he had submitted water samples from the two creeks to laboratories at Old Dominion University and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

On June 1, a forecast of Chesapeake Bay ecological conditions suggested "a moderately high likelihood of harmful algal blooms in the tidal Potomac River this summer."

The blooms occur when high levels of nutrients wash into the river. The right combination of water temperature and salinity can cause alga populations to explode.

When the microscopic creatures die and decay, they use up much of the oxygen that fish need to live in the water.

Some algae can also produce toxins.

In February and March 2002, high concentrations of a toxic alga closed the Potomac's few remaining oyster beds for several weeks.

In June 2004, high concentrations of a blue-green toxic alga named Microcystis closed public beaches at Colonial Beach for several days.

If ingested in large amounts, Microcystis can cause illness in humans and death in pets or livestock, scientists say.

In issuing its summer forecast, Chesapeake Bay Program scientists predicted a Microcystis bloom in the Potomac beginning in early summer and lasting approximately one to two months.

Parker worried that a recent spill of raw sewage at Washington, D.C., may have caused the weekend fish kill 75 miles down the Potomac.

A power outage at the Blue Plains wastewater treatment plant May 19 caused the release of 17 million gallons of

untreated sewage into the river.

Conservation groups said the spill could cause significant fish kills, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said the spill would likely have no long-lasting environmental impact.

MDE's Oberg said yesterday that her agency had just begun to investigate the Potomac fish kill and that it was too early to determine its causes.

To reach FRANK DELANO:804/333-3834
Email: [email protected]

Date published: 6/6/200
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The latest photos of the dead fish at Stratford cliffs by "Skinny Waters" (Tu Parker from above news article) show 30"+ rockfish, lots of big croaker and there were some flounder seen earlier. Go to the website Basshby cited and check it out. I signed in as BenCon cause someone already had Beacon, but no big deal (I've been called all sorts of names in my life - good and bad)

Fishdog, you are right that species can adapt, but it may take more than one or two generations. If this was because of an oxygen dead zone, then I question whether they can adapt to that situation. Maybe this is a wake up call! We are doing so much development in the Potomac Valley, and all the silt, and run off fertilizer from new lawns is going downstream causing these algae blooms. The developers put up a silt fence but they are going to seed and feltilize on their building schedule, not waiting until Fall as recommended. New homeowner also is often not aware of what fertilizer etc. is doing a couple hundred miles away!
 

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I was fishing around #7 on Sunday (with very little luck) and as i made my way out from Lewisseta I saw a lot of dead perch and bunker. I didnt notice any large fish but there were quite a few dead fish in the area. There may have been other species of dead fish in the area but perch an bunker were the main types that i saw. Some of them looked bloated. It was not a good site by any means.
 

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Anyone who saw fish kill care to give me a call? I'm writing about it today for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Lawrence Latane, 804-333-3461. Thanks
 
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