When word spreads about a fish kill, it’s easy to assume pollution is to blame. In the case of a recent incident in Baltimore County, however, the toxins came from a much smaller living thing.
According to CBS Baltimore, about 10,000 fish died in the Gunpowder and Bird Rivers in the fish kill. It didn’t discriminate, with fish like yellow perch, largemouth bass, bluegill sunfish, pumpkinseed sunfish, carp, black crappie, gizzard shad, spottail shiner and channel catfish affected.
Maryland Department of Environment investigators believe algae was the cause of the fish kill. The fish died of a toxin released by the algae. But it’s still unusual, as fish kills are more common in the summer months. The Baltimore Sun reports a “warming trend” throughout the summer and fall may have led to high algae growth that ultimately spread the toxins. In turn, algae blooms are fed by chemicals like nitrogen and phosphorous, which essentially choke off the waterways. So humans may not be completely off the hook.
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