NewsPublic Affairs / August 21, 2015

What's Killing Fish In The Wabash River?

The state is trying to figure out what’s killing fish in northeastern Indiana’s Wabash River.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management took samples from the river this week, and tests came back positive for a species of blue-green algae, which could be part of the problem.

"Oftentimes what happens with algal blooms and fish die off is that the algae die and microorganisms come to decompose their bodies they absorb a lot of oxygen from water and it’s actually lack of dissolved oxygen that kills the fish," said IDEM spokesman Dan Goldblatt.

Goldblatt says there’s not a lot the state can do about algal blooms because they feed off nutrients which make their way into the river often – through fertilizer, waste and livestock runoff.

IDEM hopes to have test results in next week that will reveal whether there are any microtoxins in the river.

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