Environment

Fish kill investigated in the Severn River

The Capital, Published 07/27/10

CROWNSVILLE — The Maryland Department of the Environment is investigating a fish kill that was reported in the Round Bay area of the Severn River.

MDE staff members reported seeing a few hundred small fish dead in the river, including bay anchovy, Atlantic menhaden, Atlantic needlefish and white perch, agency spokeswoman Dawn Stoltzfus said last night.

A “heavy algae bloom” was present in the water. Most likely, the fish died due to low oxygen in the water, Stoltzfus said.

In the Chesapeake Bay system, algae blooms are fueled by excess levels of the nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus. When algae die, they suck oxygen from the water.

The MDE also is testing the algae for Karlodinium venificum, which produces a fish-killing toxin, Stoltzfus said.

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(Revised July 2010)