Agencies Investigating Fish Kill in Pearl River

Release Date: 08/15/2011

August 15, 2011 – Fisheries biologists with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) received a report of a large fish kill in the Pearl River near Bogalusa on Saturday afternoon, August 13, 2011. Biologists immediately coordinated with emergency responders from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and began surveys and testing of water conditions in the affected areas.
 
LDWF personnel tested the water for potential causes of the fish kill, including pH and levels of dissolved oxygen -- some common factors in fish kills. Biologists surveyed 45 miles of the river from Richardson Landing to the entrance of the West Pearl River Navigation Canal. DEQ also sent an emergency responder and a water quality specialist to investigate the fish kill.
 
Several thousand aquatic species were observed dead or dying along the river, including surface, middle and bottom dwellers. Of the fish species included in the fish kill were Paddlefish, American eels, catfish, bass, bluegill and shad.
 
DEQ has taken samples of the river water. Those samples have been sent to a lab for analysis and should be back within four to five days. The agencies involved advise the public to be aware of and avoid foam on the river or any water that is discolored.  DEQ continues to investigate the cause of the fish kill.

Working together, DEQ, LDWF, the Department of Health and Hospitals, Governor’s Office of Homeland Security, as well as local and federal responders, determined that a slug of partially treated or untreated wastewater reached the river and may have caused or contributed to the fish kill.
 
According to DHH, there is no impact on drinking water from community water systems, none of which draw water from the river. DHH advises that people should not come in contact with discolored water in the Pearl River and never collect dead or floating fish to eat.
 
Crews with LDWF, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and DEQ continue to survey the river today, Monday, August 15..
 
On the Mississippi side, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality surveyed the river from Pools Bluff Sill to Walkai Bluff.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us atwww.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb  or follow us on Twitter@LDWF.

For more information, please contact Olivia Watkins at owatkins@wlf.la.gov or 225-610-8660.