Friday, March 8, 2013

MASS FISH DIE-OFF IN AMERICA: Disaster Precursors - Fish Kill In Baffin Bay, Texas Has Residents And Scientists Very Concerned; And Dead Fish Litter The Payette River In Idaho?!

March 08, 2013 - UNITED STATES - A group of residents who live around Baffin Bay are worried about pollution in the bay ruining sport fishing. That's why they approached Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi for help.

Fish Kill In Baffin Bay, Texas Has Residents And Scientists Concerned.
Fish kills in parts of Baffin Bay are nothing new. In fact, back in 2007, a massive fish kill had scientists scrambling. That kill was ultimately blamed on ammonia levels that starved the fish of oxygen.

It is happening again, but ammonia levels are not to blame this time. A group of citizens has been keeping track of fish kills over the past couple of years, and although they are small, it is happening more often.

Residents took pictures of black drum that have been dying off, leaving the beaches littered with dead fish. Of more concern are images that show mountains of small clams that are the main source of food for the black drum.

"If it's a municipal waste water issue, certainly upgrading waste water plants; if it's a farming issue, implementation of best management practices, and how we apply fertilizers for example," said Dr. Michael Wetz, assistant professor of marine biology at TAMUCC. "It could be an issue of putting buffers around farmland. There are any number of things that can be done."

Wetz was able to get a grant back in January to organize the citizens into volunteer water quality monitors. He hopes to get a better handle on how to deal with algal blooms and levels of nutrients in the water that are too high for underwater life to survive in. - KIII.

WATCH: Fish Kill in Baffin Bay has Resident, Scientists Concerned.

Dead Fish Litter The Payette River In Idaho.
Sediment washed through the Black Canyon Dam kills fish  The water is low in the Payette River which recently helped Idaho Fish and Game conservation officers and biologists inspect sediment deposits created from the Black Canyon Dam water draw down. The draw down is part of the scheduled construction plan of a third hydroelectric generating unit at the Black Canyon Diversion Dam. The generation plant was proposed by the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation to provide power to 9,359 homes outside of Gem County.  Recently, a team of Idaho Fish and Game biologists surveyed the Payette River from the Black Canyon Dam to the Letha Bridge. The team consisted of Senior Regional Research Fisheries Biologist at IDFG Martin Koenig, IDFG Fisheries Biologist Joe Kozfkay and Emmett IDFG Conservation Officer Paul Alexander. What the group found was surprising.  During the basic fish kill and habitat survey, the IDFG biologists found more than 100 dead fish up and down the banks of the Payette River scattered below the dam to the Gem Island Sports Complex.

A one day survey reveals heavy sediment and over 100 dead fish in the lower Payette River. Heavy sediment could also harm duck populations. Photos from the Idaho Department Fish and Game.
Six different fish species were discovered dead. Koenig said that suckers, chiselmouth, pike minnows, yellow perch, carp and some small mouth bass were found floating in the river, stuck in deep sand bars or on the banks.  Kozfkay was most alarmed by the amount of deep sediment in the stream channel. It was higher than normal below the dam and also had filled pools and cracks. Sand and sediment in the water column can affect the fish’s gills, eyes and skin. “It’s like getting sand blasted,” Kozfkay said. “Many of the carp we studied were beat up.”  “When the sand fills in the small spaces, it also kills insects, crayfish and small fish which fish feed on,” Kozfkay said.  The sediment from the dam originates from upper drainages according to IDFG officers. The sand fills the pools and the fish cannot see to feed by sight. The big concern is the sediment, when washed out by high water, will be pushed into back water sloughs and channels occupied by groups of nesting and breeding duck populations.  “There is a high probability the sediment has hurt the fish population from the dam to Emmett. The fish food base was also damaged,” Kozfkay said.  Later this summer, IDFG officers will submit a mitigation request for reservoir restocking costs to re-establish fisheries. In future years, they will repeat surveys and data collection and make additional mitigation requests.  “I’m aware how important this fishery and reservoir is to the community,” Kozfkay said. “Fishing and floating the river is popular. We need to take a serious look into this and try to look for a solution.” - Messenger Index.

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