Public Urged to Contact Congress and EPA Over Susquehanna River Issue

February 6, 2013

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is urging anglers and boaters throughout the Susquehanna River watershed to contact their members of Congress to demand action to fix the Susquehanna River.

“Congress needs to join the growing chorus of concerned citizens and businesses calling on the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to declare the river impaired and start a timeline for developing a restoration plan,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “If officials do not act to address the water quality issues on the Susquehanna River, Pennsylvania risks losing what is left of what was once considered a world-class smallmouth bass fishery.”

Mounting evidence presented by the PFBC demonstrates that the river is sick and needs help, including:

Data reveal that both the minimum daily dissolved oxygen concentration and pH fail to meet the federal and state established criteria for the protected use of warm water fishes. The failure to meet these criteria stresses young-of-year smallmouth bass and causes them to get sick and die.
Dissolved phosphorus levels are increasing at exponential rates, resulting in large and unprecedented harmful blooms of nuisance algae which deplete oxygen form the river’s water.
Scientific studies have documented that smallmouth bass populations have been steadily declining since the early 2000s. These data are supported by countless angler claims of a diminishing population. Many guides who once made their living guiding for smallmouth can no longer book trips due to the decreased quality of the fishery.
Gross lesions and disease are decimating the young-of-the-year smallmouth bass resulting in extremely poor survival from one year to the next. The river has not experienced a successful year class of smallmouth bass since 2005.
The Susquehanna River has a high incidence of intersex condition – male fish having female cells or the precursors to female cells.

“The Susquehanna River is sick and official action needs to be taken to address the poor water quality which impacts the fishery and the citizens, businesses, and visitors of the Commonwealth,” said Arway. “We urge you to contact your elected officials today with two simple messages. Tell them what the Susquehanna River means to you, and ask them to tell EPA to put a plan in place to fix the Susquehanna River before it is too late.”

Refer to the PFBC website at http://www.fishandboat.com/susq-impairment.htm for a map showing individual members of Congress serving the Susquehanna River watershed. Members may be contacted by calling the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202.224.3121 or by visiting www.house.gov or www.senate.gov.

Individuals are also urged to share a copy of all Congressional correspondence with Larry Merrill from EPA at merrill.larry@epa.gov.

For more information about the problems plaguing the Susquehanna River, visit www.fishandboat.com and select Susquehanna River Impairment under Featured Topics in the right column.

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