(Due to issues with the featured video I had to remove it however you can view it here).

The video was shot by Dean Koujaks the Upper Neuse Riverkeeper. This incident should be investigated further. Thousands fish on this lake and it is Raleigh’s main drinking water. Why is this kill being downplayed? Um, something is up.  Several National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems (NPDES) permits are being challenged on June 19 in Raleigh. Everyone concerned should comment or plan to attend.

An aside note; this lake is the receiving waters for waste from the NBAF, if the National Bio Agro Defense Facility is sited in Butner.  Raleigh Deputy City Attorney Dan McLawhorn filed objections to construction of NBAF in Butner based on the flow of wastewater from SGWASA into the watershed.  It is an issue because animal tissue from NBAF experiments would be reduced by heat, pressure and chemicals to a liquid that would eventually be released into the public sewer system. Butner’s water source, “SGWASA” is one of the permits being challenged as a chronic polluter and violator.

Many questions should be asked, what caused this and has this happened before?

N&O
Amy Poole, an owner of Rolling View Marina in Durham County, said she contacted Naujoks after receiving several reports of dead fish.

“I’ve been out here for many, many years,” Poole said. “This is just strange. If there is something here that is doing this, I want to know about it.”

 

We all want to know about it. Consider the words from a man who knows Falls Lake, the Neuse River Keeper.

There was a large fish kill on Falls Lake ), which started approximately on Wednesday May 28th and continued until Friday the 29th. I received a call late Thursday afternoon, but had no idea how extensive the kill was until I got out to the lake on Friday. Most
of the fish died on Thursday. Witnesses stated “dead fish were everywhere” from below Highway 50 up the lake to the Sandling Beach/Rolling View area. The state responded to the kill on Thursday, but only reported 30 dead fish. When I arrived on Friday, dead fish were on the boat ramp and all along the shore line. I counted 27 dead fish before I even launched my boat. I started counting every dead fish I could see. Every cove in Lich Creek had dead fish–all Cat Fish. The smell of dead rotting fish was everywhere. I called Wade Rawlins with the News and Observer and kept him updated on the totals. I contacted
a fish pathologist with NCSU to let them how extensive the kill was and to discuss possible causes. It was determined a bacterial or viral infection likely caused the kill, since only one species of fish died.

I also took out camera crews for WRAL to cover the event. While out on the lake, we met the NC Wild Life Resource Commission who was in the process of counting dead fish. My total was 634 dead fish, their total was only 350. I was surprised they did not venture into any of the coves where the wind had blown a majority of the dead fish. They
explained the fish kill was nothing out of the ordinary. Spawning likely created sores that allowed the fish to become susceptible to a bacterial infection. As a result, they did not collect any fish to be sampled by their labs. My question to them was what caused the
bacterial infection that led to such a big fish kill? I also questioned why none of the state agencies seemed interested in collecting fish samples for testing? Any connections to increasing pollution problems in Falls Lake were officially dismissed. However, a
fish pathologist I spoke with questioned if such a large fish kill could have resulted from spawning activity. Environmental factors could have played a role in creating additional stress while the fish were spawning or contributed to a serious bacterial infection that
caused thousands of fish to die. Perhaps both. According to Amy Poole of Rolling View Marina, she had never seen any thing like it in the 24 years she has owned and operated the marina out on Falls Lake. This was an unusual event.

Falls Lake was recently listed on the states 303d list for impaired waters as a result of degraded water quality in the lake. After prolonged drought, we believe the recent flushing of accumulated fertilizers and pet wastes from lawns, sediment from construction sites, sewage overflows and failing sewage plants (like Butner’s) may
have played a part in this fish kill. For years, the state has down played massive fish kills in the lower Neuseand frequently dismissed nutrient pollution as a contributing factor. We knew better and so did the scientist we have trusted and worked with for years (who are now winning awards for their research). The state did revise their official fish kill total to 1400, but I wanted you to know that one thing I am absolutely certain of is that thousands of fish died on Falls Lake last week. Below are links to the video I shot while out on the lake and to the News and Observer article and the WRAL piece.

Dean Naujoks
Upper Neuse Riverkeeper
Neuse River Foundation

More here .

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