Harrisburg, PA /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ - The Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help identify the factors contributing to the poor health of the Susquehanna River and begin taking steps to improve the river's condition "before it becomes too late to repair the damage."
In a July 28 letter to EPA Administrator Shawn Garvin, Executive Director John Arway said the agency supports the EPA's recent decision to increase oversight of pollutants from the agricultural sector in Pennsylvania's portion of the Chesapeake Bay, but said more needs to be done.
"While large strides have been made in other sectors, the agricultural sector has been more complicated to understand and subsequently account for in regulatory improvements," Arway said. "Further investigation into the agricultural contribution will be challenging but one that is much needed and long overdue."
In particular, Arway urged the EPA to establish thresholds for reducing the amount of dissolved phosphorus, which he said is "plaguing the water quality" of the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay.
"While target parameters such as total nitrogen and total phosphorus are important in estuarine management, I strongly recommend that EPA's upcoming focus include targets specifically for the Susquehanna River, a riverine environment that's the bay's largest tributary," he said. "These would include the dissolved components of phosphorus which are fueling algal blooms and increased productivity in the Susquehanna River and its tributaries creating the primary stressor that cause young bass immune systems to be stressed, the fish to become weakened, then become infected with bacteria and die."
Arway said that specific recommendations which would have far-reaching impacts to improve the Susquehanna if enacted statewide include:
A complete copy of Executive Director Arway's letter to the EPA is available on the PFBC website.
More information about the Susquehanna River impairment is also available on the website.
SOURCE: Pennsylvania Fish & Boat CommissionCopyright 2014 PR Newswire. All Rights Reserved