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Bass confusion from land pollution

January 25, 2021

Chesapeake Bay Program — by Caitlyn Johnstone — January 25, 2021

"Traces of just about anything in our 64,000 square mile watershed can be found in our rivers and streams. Plants, animals, microscopic life and the chemical elements of water itself are part of the mix, but so are medicines, fertilizers, man-made chemicals, oil and other contaminants courtesy of humans.

The entire ecosystem can be affected by contaminants, including some of our favorite recreational fish. Among the contaminant troubles for aquatic life are endocrine disruptors: chemicals that cause reproductive changes and can result in intersex fish. Here in the watershed, male fish, including large and small mouth bass, are being found with female protein in the blood, immature eggs in the testes and reduced sperm motility. Incidences of intersex fish in multiple tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay have been documented for several years but taking action to stop these changes has been difficult without knowing the causes or risk factors.

To find the source of these hormonal disruptions for aquatic life, scientists and researchers are using one of the most powerful tools in their arsenal: data. Multiple studies on degraded fish health led the Chesapeake Bay Program in 2014 to include toxic contaminants outcomes in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement. In a new report, United States Geological Survey (USGS)  scientists have analyzed more than fifteen years of data to identify how landscape changes (e.g. natural lands developed for homes and farms) contribute to endocrine disruption in fish. . ."

Read the full article at Chesapeake Bay Program


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