Tue., June 7, 2011 1:28pm (EDT)

EPA: Fish Mystery Might Go Unsolved
By Orlando Montoya
Updated: 3 years ago

RICHMOND HILL, Ga.  —  
Thousands of fish turned up dead on the Ogeechee River.  What led them to become suceptible to a common bacteria is a mystery that environmental officials and river watchdogs are trying to solve.  (photo Ogeechee Riverkeeper)
Thousands of fish turned up dead on the Ogeechee River. What led them to become suceptible to a common bacteria is a mystery that environmental officials and river watchdogs are trying to solve. (photo Ogeechee Riverkeeper)
Federal environmental regulators say, they might never know what led to a fish kill in the Ogeechee River. Orlando Montoya of W-S-V-H in Savannah reports, state officials now are discovering dead mussels.

A US Environmental Protection Agency memo released this week repeats what's already known about the kill -- that it was caused by a common bacteria.

But it then concludes, it might be impossible to know for certain what made the fish suceptible to the bacteria in the first place.

Fisheries manager Tim Barrett of the state Environmental Protection Division says, it's frustrating, but there are many factors.

"The Ogeechee River and all the coastal rivers right now are very stressed," Barrett says. "Temperatures are well above average. Rainfall is well below average. So, we're starting with kind of a delicate situation. And what we need is rain."

Barrett says, he's spotted about a hundred dead mussels in the river near where the kill began.

"There's a lot of unanswered questions but we don't want to say more than what we know. And right now there's a lot of things that are unknown," Barrett says. "But we're still looking."

Thousands of fish have died in the river since the last week of May.

It started in Screven County and eventually progressed the river's entire length, keeping many boaters off the river on Memorial Day weekend.