Multiple factors contribute to 'doah fish kills, including endocrine disruptors.

Thursday, April 7, 2011 - 9:46am

Vicki Blazer, the 2011 recipient of our Protector of the Potomac Award, recently published scientific research that suggests multiple factors contribute to fish kills in the Shenandoah Valley.

"Fish health is often used as an indicator of aquatic ecosystem health, and these findings raise concerns about environmental degradation within the Potomac River drainage. Unfortunately, while much information has been gained from the studies conducted to date, due to the multiple state jurisdictions involved, competing interests, and other issues, there has been no coordinated approach to identifying and mitigating the stressors."

The study concludes that "multiyear, interdisciplinary, integrative research" is needed "to identify the underlying stressors and possible management actions to enhance ecosystem health."

Jeff Kelble, our Shenandoah Riverkeeper, contributed to the study and is listed as an author. Jeff says that, while more research needs to be done, there is a connection between fish health and unsustainable agricultural practices.

"We are seeing higher instances of sick fish and fish kills in areas that are oversaturated with cattle and poultry. Hormones and chemicals like endocrine disruptors are used on the livestock are find their way into the river and the fish."