The cause of the fish kill in the Memphis harbor has not been determined, but the TN Dept. of Environment and Conservation and TN Wildlife Resources are investigating. Click "read more" below to get an update on what they've found. Meanwhile people working on President's Island also are reporting a large and on-going fish kill.
In a letter to Amie Vanderford who reported the problem, Lew Hoffman of TN Water Pollution Control says:
Thank you for your report of the dead fish in Wolf River Lagoon (Harbor). TDEC/WPC was made aware of this by the Coast Guard on 10/28/09 and immediately investigated. The Coast Guard stated that Silver Carp were the only species observed by them at that time. WPC personnel observed numerous fish of several species that were dead or dying. Field parameters of the Lagoon were taken and were within "normal" limits.
On 10/29/09, WPC contacted the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), who is the lead agency in fish kill investigations, and informed them of the situation. They dispatched personnel to the site who collected fish in order to hopefully determine the cause of the kill. Also, WPC was informed that the Corps of Engineers had conducted dredging activities in the Lagoon during the period of 10/8/09 through 10/19/09.
At this time, pending a determination by TWRA, we have not determined the cause of the kill but are continuing to monitor.
On 11/6/09, WPC re-checked the site and contacted City of Memphis personnel who agreed to clean up the dead fish. They dispatched a crew on the 30th and collected and disposed of all the fish they could see along the shoreline.
On 11/10/09, WPC staff went back to the site based upon your observations and observed that the water had receded a few feet since the 6th and that there were several dead and dying fish along the shoreline and near the docks. The observed species was mostly Silver Carp and again, field parameters were taken and were within or very near to "normal" range.
We will continue our efforts in this matter and will keep you informed of our results.
Thank you for your concern in protecting the waters of the State of Tennessee.