(HARRISBURG, PA)—Harry Campbell, Pennsylvania Executive Director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) issued this statement following the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) release of a multi-year study to identify what is causing the decline of smallmouth bass in the Susquehanna River.
The Causal Analysis/Diagnosis Decision Information System (CADDIS) process analyzed 14 potential causes, and found that endocrine-disrupting compounds and herbicides, and pathogens and parasites, are the two most-likely causes of diseased and dying fish in the Lower Susquehanna. The sickness was first discovered in 2005.
The study results will be among evidence DEP will consider in deciding whether to include the lower Susquehanna on its impaired waters list, which will be released in February.
"The time to start to remedy the sick Susquehanna River and save a world-class smallmouth bass fishery is now.
"As causes of diseased and dying smallmouth bass continue to be studied, it provides even more evidence that the 98 miles of the Lower Susquehanna River should be recommended for impairment when the DEP's Integrated Water Quality Report comes out in February.
"An impairment declaration will start the healing process, so that the waterway that millions of Pennsylvanians depend upon, and provides half of the freshwater to the Chesapeake Bay, can benefit from an unwavering level of restoration, resource investment, and pollution study.
"CBF commends DEP and its partners for the intensive multi-year scientific effort to determine what is causing the smallmouth bass population in sections of the Lower Susquehanna River to be diseased.
"Clean water counts. Declaring the lower Susquehanna River to be impaired is the right thing to do."