NOTE: Sussex Beat is a mix of news, analysis and commentary by Eric Magill, publisher of Sussex County Online.
The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control a water contact advisory for Pepper Creek near Dagsboro was lifted on Thursday, July 13, 2000, after a second round of tests there showed no evidence of Pfisteria.
The Pfisteria Emergency Response Management Team lifted the precautionary measure it instituted after an estimated 50,000 juvenile menhaden were found dead in the creek on Monday, July 10.
A second set of tests from North Carolina laboratories confirmed earlier test results from the University of Maryland that neither Pfisteria Piscicida nor Pfisteria Shumwayae were present.
DNREC says juvenile menhaden are susceptible to depressed oxygen levels, a common occurrence in local waters in the summer. DNREC also said that Pepper Creek and Bald Eagle Creek, which saw a similar fish kill on July 6, appear to have higher juvenile menhaden populations this year than in recent years.
DNREC officials said the public should still use common sense and avoid swimming or other water-contact activities in areas with dead or dying fish or where water is discolored (milky or mahogany-colored). Pfisteria is believed to cause short-term memory loss and other neurological problems in humans.
People who observe dead or dying fish are asked to report their observations to DNREC's environmental hotline at 1-800-662-8802.
More on Pfisteria and its causes and effects is available on the Environmental Protection Agency's Pfisteria Fact Sheet.
Winchester Star article from 11/99 quotes Paul Anderson, outgoing president of Frederick County Farm Bureau, as saying "Now they find out, (pfisteria) had nothing to do with chicken litter whatsoever, but the legislation is still there.²
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More information on Pfisteria Piscicida is available on the North Carolina State University Aquatic Botany Lab web site.
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