BALTIMORE, MD (July 29, 2010) The Maryland Department of the Environment and the Department of Natural Resources continue to investigate a large fish kill in Deep Creek Lake, Garrett County, with approximately 500 dead fish reported to date.
MDE and DNR continue to collect and analyze additional water and fish samples and to analyze historical Deep Creek Lake data for comparison to existing conditions. The results of many of the water and fish tissue analyses will not be available for several weeks.
While the investigation is ongoing, preliminary results indicate that unprecedented high temperatures in July on the upper surface of the lake set the stage for an ongoing parasite protozoan infestation that is affecting fish gills. The affected fish are primarily cold water species such as yellow perch, walleye, smallmouth bass and Northern pike that are adapted to temperatures less than 73.4 degrees Fahrenheit/23 degrees Celsius.
There is no apparent connection to the July 11, 2010, sewage spill that occurred in the Northern end of the lake (at least two miles North of the fish kill). Dissolved oxygen levels in the surface waters of the lake remain well above state standards.
No evidence suggests a threat to human health, and the fish parasite cannot infect people; however, visitors and residents are advised to avoid touching, eating, swimming with, or coming into close proximity to any dead fish. MDE and DNR are consulting with state and local public health agencies.
Marylanders are urged to report fish kills and algae blooms at 1-866-MDE-GOTO or 877-224-RBAY.