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Heat Wave To Blame For Inner Harbor Fish Kill?

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The goal of making the Inner Harbor swimmable and fishable in seven years is a daunting task for one non-profit group, especially in the wake of this week’s heavy pollution that killed hundreds of fish in the harbor.

As Gigi Barnett explains–the goal still stands.

A milky green Inner Harbor—that’s what visitors saw this week. The unusual color came with an offensive smell that killed almost everything in it.

“We have an estimated 200 dead fish, mostly menhaden. We don’t know for certain what caused the conditions,” said Jay Apperson, MDE.

The state says there are a number of reasons why. Visitors have seen it before.

“Typical Baltimore kind of thing. Happens about every summer,” a man said.

Environmental watch groups blamed it on the heavy pollution that brings high bacteria, also called an algae bloom. On a hot day, sea life can’t survive.

“The harbor is just an unhealthy ecosystem,” said Adam Lindquist, Waterfront Partnership.

Lindquist is a spokesman at the Waterfront Partnership, a non-profit group that wants a clear and clutter-free harbor. He says two algae blooms occurred last summer which covered the whole harbor.

“Trash and the pollution that flows down our storm drains does not go to a filtration plant. It doesn’t go to the sewer or treatment plant. It just flows directly into the streams that come here to the harbor,” he said.

The Waterfront Partnership has a goal to clean up the Inner Harbor by 2020 so that people will want to swim and fish in the water. The group says this week’s algae bloom show that its hard work begins in local neighborhoods, not at the harbor.

“The solution is so simple. If people can install rain barrels, rain gardens, plant trees and properly dispose of their trash we will see a significantly healthier harbor,” he said.

Especially in the coming years.

Funds from a recently approved storm water fee for city residents will go toward cleaning up the Inner Harbor.

More from Gigi Barnett
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