Saturday, January 03, 2009

Geological Survey Fishery Specialist Laughs at TVA's Claims about Cause of Fish Kill

The Free Times Press via MSNBC has a story on the threat that the spilled TVA ash could have to an ancient species of fish that the Tennessee Aquarium has been attempting to integrate back into the wild. In that story TVA's explanation for the initial fish kill when their pond dike broke is questioned by a guy probably has more knowledge of fish than the TVA CEO has of the impact of ash spills:

"There's nothing stopping [the sturgeon] from deciding they want to go downriver [to the ash spill site]," said Dr. Phil Bettoli, assistant unit leader at the Tennessee Cooperative Fishery Research Unit of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Dr. Bettoli is in the midst of a routine evaluation of the sturgeon population and said it will take time to know how many of the fish were downstream of the spill and how they might be affected.

Near the spill site, several pockets of dead fish have been reported, but the TVA said the fish kills occurred when the fish were stranded on land and not because of toxic elements in the stream.

"The force of the water during the initial event stranded some fish out of the water and they subsequently died. That was not related to water quality," a TVA statement said.

"Oh really?" asked Dr. Bettoli, laughing when he heard the statement. "That's interesting."

The article also refers to views of the head researcher of the Tennessee Aquarium, who challenges TVA's claim that the amount of toxin spilled would not be toxic to fish.

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