Potomac Shenandoah Fish Kills


 FISH KILL HOTLINE  1-800-642-3074


Intersex and Fish Kill History in Potomac and Shenandoah Watersheds

            State and federal environmental, natural resources, agriculture and health officials are analyzing smallmouth bass in the South Branch of the Potomac and Lost rivers in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle, trying to understand the cause of intersex conditions and fish kills. Over the past three years, DEP and all other agencies have undertaken an extensive effort to assess the extent and cause, whether natural or anthropogenic, of intersex occurrence in South Branch smallmouth bass. 

            Intersex is a condition in which a fish may exhibit characteristics of both sexes. The condition is believed to be caused by a fish's exposure to manmade sources of hormones or synthetic compounds that mimic hormones. Histopathologic examinations of smallmouth bass testes collected from the South Branch Potomac, Potomac and Cacapon Rivers in 2004 found intersex condition in up to 80% of the male fish sampled. 

            All available resources will continue to be applied. The agencies involved are currently focusing on studies concerning: 
                    -  relationship of intersex and fish kills 
                    -  causative pollutants associated with the fish kills 
                    -  reproductive ability of male bass with intersex, via assessment of sperm motility


            Below you will find documents and links to information about the fish kills that have occured in the  Potomac and Shenandoah River Watersheds.  There were two workshops held at Cacapon State Park that included representatives of many state and federal agencies.  Click on the links just below to get to specific groups of information that is on this web page.  

                        <  General Information and links  >
                        <  Workshop held January 2008 
                        <  Workshop held September 2006  >
                        <  Information prior to 2006   >


Potomac Fish Kill and Intersex Study - ADDITIONAL INFORMATION


General Information and Links

U.S. EPA's DRAFT Causal Analysis of Fish Kills in the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers:  A Report from a Workshop held January 16-18, 2007

Stream conditions at the time of the fish kill in May 2006 


USGS Open-File Report 2006-1393 - A Reconnaissance for Emerging Contaminants in the South Branch Potomac River, Cacapon River, and Williams River Basins, West Virginia, April-October 2004

 Fish Kill History in the South Branch of the Potomac 1994-2002




Virginia-West Virginia Fish Kill Research Status Meeting held at Cacapon State Park on January 30, 2008

Meeting Agenda

  Workshop attendees and invited guests
U.S. EPA Causal Analysis Results from Spring of 2007   - Dr. Sue Norton, U.S. EPA
  2007 Fish Kills in West Virginia and Virginia   - Jim Hedrick, West Virginia DNR and Steve Reeser, Virginia DGIF
  2007 West Virginia Activities and Information   - Andrew Johnson, West Virginia DEP 
  2007 Virginia North and South Fork Shenandoah Temperature Analysis   - Don Kain, Virginia DEQ
  2007 Virginia North and South Fork Shenandoah Passive Sampler Hits   - Don Kain, Virginia DEQ
  2007 Virginia Long Term Monitoring Data for North and South Fork Shenandoah    - Don Kain, Virginia DEQ

Nitrite Toxicity Theory   - Andrew Johnson and Ben Lowman, West Virginia DEP

  Maryland Poultry Litter Study   - Dr. Lance Yankos, University of Maryland
 N/A Virginia Research Advisory Committee, Findings and 2008 recommendations   - Dr. Don Orth, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University



Virginia-West Virginia Fish Kill Research Workshop held at Cacapon State Park  September 22-24, 2006

N/A Meeting Minutes (Not available yet)

 Agenda from the September 20-22, 2006 Workshop

Orientation to North Fork and South Fork Shenandoah Watersheds - presentation by William Van Wart, Virginia DEQ
Review of Fish Kills in West Virginia - presentation by Jim Hendrick, West Virginia DNR
Review of Fish Kills in Virginia - presentation by Steve Reeser, Virginia DGIF
Overview of Stressor Identification and CADDIS - presentation by Glenn Suter, U.S. EPA
Histology and Intersex Information - presentation by Dr. Vicki Blazer, USGS
Virginia Macroinvertebrate Study - presentation by Dr. Amy Braccia, Virginia Tech University
Environmental Conditions and the Shenandoah River Fish Kills  - presentation by Dr. Dan Downey, James Madison University
Virginia Water Quality Data - presentation by Robert Turner, Virginia DEQ
USGS Water Quality Data in the Shenandoah River - presentation by Gary Speiran, USGS
West Virginia Water Quality Data, Arsenic, Barium and Macrinvertebrates - presentation by John Wirts, West Virginia DEP
Poultry Industry Overview - presentation by Christina Richmond, West Virginia Department of Agriculture
West Virgina Department of Agriculture Nutrient Monitoring - presentation by Laurie Olah, West Virginia Department of Agriculture
Oxygen Affinity - presentation by Andrew Johnson, West Virginia DEP
Toxicity Testing, Past and Future - presentation by Amy Bergdale, U.S. EPA
Monitoring and Other Data in Stressor Identification Process - presentation by Sue Norton, U.S. EPA


 Information prior to 2006