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Grand river polluted???

Discussion in 'Northeast Ohio Fishing Reports' started by Dingo, Sep 23, 2004.

  1. Dingo


    Keep in mind that the sampling on the grand is many miles upstream from the lower 'steelhead portion'. Would have been interesting to have a reading in the more heavily fished areas...

    Staff Writer

    The Grand River topped the list of Ohio’s top 10 most mercury-polluted rivers and lakes, with the Ashtabula River coming in at No. 4.

    The list was revealed in a telephone conference among news media and the State Environmental Leadership Program (SELP) of the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC), a private organization.

    Once known by Native Americans as “the river of many fishes,” the Ashtabula River took the No. 4 spot for high levels of mercury pollution as measured in the flesh of contaminated game fish.

    The Grand River, a 712 square-mile watershed covering 455,680 acres, was tested close to Austinburg. According to, the Grand River supports 64 endangered, protected or sensitive species of fish, amphibians, birds and mammals.

    The Environmental Protection Agency reports exposure to excessive levels of mercury can cause permanent damage to the brain and kidneys. Ingestion of inorganic mercury compounds can cause severe renal and gastrointestinal poisoning.

    Mercury can be damaging to the neurological development of fetuses, newborns and infants. As a neurotoxin, even low levels of mercury exposure can adversely affect the brain and nervous systems of small children. Impacts on memory, attention, language and other skills have been found in children exposed to small amounts of mercury while in the womb.

    The mercury is emitted from coal-burning power plants and released into the waterways. According to OEC, fish in some of Ohio’s lakes and waterways are considerably more contaminated than those in others.

    Jim Doss, Ohio Bass Chapter Federation president, said predator fish, or fish that eat other fish, can have mercury concentrations in their flesh of more than 1,000 times the level in the waters.

    “The solution is not to fish less. The solution is for the EPA to do more to curb mercury pollution. The last thing we want to do is avoid the waters,” SELP coordinator Keith Reopelle said.

    The Ashtabula River flows into Lake Erie’s central basin at Ashtabula. The drainage basin covers 137 square miles. Major tributaries include Fields Brook, Hubbard Run and Ashtabula Creek. Industrial development is prominent around the Fields Brook area and east of the river mouth.

    A fish consumption advisory has been posted by the EPA for the Ashtabula River since 1983. The lower two miles of the Ashtabula River, the Ashtabula Harbor and the Lake Erie near-shore have been areas of concentration concern since 1988. The EPA has suggested restricting the consumption of smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye, catfish and carp from these waters since 1997.

    Lake Erie, the warmest and most biologically productive of the Great Lakes, also has high levels of mercury pollution. EPA suggests people restrict their consumption of Lake Erie walleye, freshwater drum, carp, steelhead trout, white perch, coho salmon, chinook salmon, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, white bass, catfish and lake trout.

    “The EPA is not doing nearly what it can to reduce the levels of mercury in the waters. The answer is not to fish less; the answer is to challenge the EPA and the Bush administration to stop corporate polluters,” Reopelle said.

    Ohio EPA spokeswoman Linda Oros said steps have been taken to reduce mercury levels in Ohio’s waters.

    “We share the concerns of the Ohio Environmental Council and support their stand against mercury emissions,” she said.

    Oros said Ohio issued a statewide fish consumption alert for the first time last year, which put up red flags across the nation about controlling mercury pollution.

    “Regulation definitely needs to be put into place, and that is coming. Things are being done through the EPA and the Bush administration to control this problem,” she said.

    Ohio’s Top 10 Most Mercury-Polluted Lakes, Rivers

    1. Grand River, Ashtabula County

    2. Tymochtee Creek, Wyandot County

    3. Mahoning River, Mahoning County

    4. Ashtabula River, Ashtabula County

    5. New Lyme Lake, Ashtabula County

    6. Lake Hamilton, Mahoning County

    7. Wolf Creek – West Branch, Morgan County

    8. Black River – West Branch, Lorain County

    9. Tiffin River, Williams County

    10. St. Joseph River, East Branch

    Source: Ohio Environmental Council
  2. First of all, let me state that I am not a tree hugging, enviro-nut. But, it is difficult for me to see what is happening to Ohios' rivers and lakes. If mercury pollution is this high, why isn't something being done?
    I would think that as many fishing clubs as are in this state, that they would use there combined influence to hold the EPA and local politicians feet to the fire.
    Ohio is now ranked 5th in the country as far as pollution is concerned

    Nuff said, sometimes I just have to rant.

  3. johnboy111711

    johnboy111711 SOLID MEAT

    It's not like the polution of these streams is new. the ashtabula has long been too contaminated to fish.
  4. Dingo


    It's probably due to what they were looking for. If searching for poop, I'm sure the 'hoga north of Akron would be near the top of the list. Such pretty water to smell so bad. The glycol (jet deicer) in the rocky river over the winter isn't much better.
  5. Yeah, same old same old. I'm surprised the Rocky isn't on there. I know two guys that actually threw away their waders after fishing it. TONS of run-off of airplane de-icer and junk from the airport gets washed into there every year. It'll actually make your eyes burn if you hit it at the right time.
  6. Dingo


    yes, but the river doesn't freeze in that area, even on the coldest days. Provides a winter-long trout fishery, as long as you C&R and can take the smell...

    I was suprised that the grand had such high levels. I always figured that it was one of the cleaner rivers running into lake erie (along with the vermilion). Would have liked to see a reading further downstream, near Painesville.
  7. I guess at 6:00 this morning newschannel 5 ran a newsbit about this same issue. My dad caught it and told me that they discouraged fishing and fish eating from the grand river, and that it wasn't safe to be in the water even wearing neoprene waders due to high levels of mercury. I did some farther research and came across an article from news channel 5 containing a similar report. The advisory is a nice touch, but these studies need to be more extensive and site specific. For example the Mahoning River made the list. But I'm certain the section of concern flows down from Newton Falls through Warren. The section of the river that I fish flows mostly in portage county and comes from berlin and lake mitlon. I am also surprised that the Cuyahoga and the Ohio River were not on the list.
  8. The idea that you to avoid walking in the water based on mercury contamination is absurd. The mercury levels in the water are very low, and only become a hazard to humans if they eat the concentrated mercury in the flesh of predatory fish that are 3, 4 or more steps up the food chain. The biggest mercury winners here are predators that spend long lives in the river, eating their meals in the river. These would be non-migratory bass or catfish primarily. Steelhead are relatively short lived, and eat most of their fish out in the lake where concentrations are dilluted.

    Mercury pollution in today's era primarily comes through rain fallout of coal burning plants, so which rivers are worse than others depends on where their drainage basin is in relation to coal burning power plants.

    A note on Mercury - the Bush administration had this topic on the table about 9 months ago. Last March's F&S had a good article on it. A joint committee of administration members and enviro gurus did a study and made recommendations to Bush. However, Bush opted for a level of regulations that was far below the recommendations of even the conservative members of the committee. My translation - Bush administration had the chance to do something about mercury pollution and copped out. I will remember that in Nov.

    In a separate pollution concern though, the area of the Grand in Painesville near Uniroyal was reported earlier to be contaminated with hexavalent chromium. That type of pollution is the real deal and worth avoiding in my opion. See Erin Brochovich for more details on this type of toxin.
  9. What wasn't mentioned, and will put it greatly into context, is what is around austinburg and upstream/downstream of it. Obviously if you go to the headwater areas you have a totally different situation than the area the is around painesville and fairport etc. Perfect, simple example is that it is that it is not state scenic in that reach. A simple route would be to find what industrial wastes, spills, and anythign in general are in the watershed around austinburg and would contribute to the locality of the mercury, becuase it is something that does lock up in the sediment and fish due to its nature as a heavier than water substance. This just is not in a good context to make such a broad assumption. Austinburg geographically is sort of a "middle" ground but fish tissues from one area doesnt exactly put you on solid scientific ground, especially if they take samples from fish that are migratory. Samples should be taken from multiple areas, say from fairport, austinburg, and rock creek. You cannot say with any confidence that the Grand River or any other river for that matter is at any ranking due to the tissue samples from ONE location. They are making an assumption on a basic that covers 700+ square miles based on one subbasin. Bad science only causes people to get misconceptions, make bad decisions, and label people incorrectly for what they are attempting to advocate. Don't get me wrong either on my angle like I am trying to discount this or bash people, because I am in this exact field, I know there is a problem, I will probably spend my life studying these things, but shoddy work isnt going to make it better. Who did the fish tissue analysis? What species did they sample? Was this a non profit org that developed this protocol and subbed it out to a consultant or was this a state run study? Seems a bit on the biased side to me and thats not science.....If anyone knows where I can get my hands on this report I would love to read it.
  10. I totally agree with you ashtonmj. Junk science has come a long way.
    Years ago, I helped do a study on the upper Cuyahoga River. The city of Akron hired the consulting firm for which I worked. The consulting firm immediatly hired two aquatic biology professors from KSU, to help with the study. Remember that the city was spending 250,000 on this project. The outcome was to coincide with what the city was trying to prove. My point being there are so many scientists out there that are getting tax money, to get more tax money.
  11. fishing pole

    fishing pole Off the beaten path

    we use to play with that stuff when we were kids. literally we'd throw it around on the sidewalk after busting a couple of thermometers open. Been tested and no poisoning. I think we need to take care of terrorism before we make a voting choice otherwise tainted rivers really dont matter. DIG DEEP AND YOU"LL FIND THE ANSWERS. LOOK WHO VOTED AGAINST THE KYOTO TREATY AND NAMSI?
  12. Ok #1 The Kyoto Protocol is realted to emissions (CO2) that affect climate change NOT mercury. Indircetly because of the reduce in emissions it would have lowered airborne mercury levels, but this is something the US and OEPA have a whole lot more control over. There is such a little amount of mercury in those thermometers of course it wouldnt do anything but maybe make your stomach a little upset.
    #2 At no point did this have a political undertone until you made it that way I like it when people just report the facts and make people aware here. I bet there are people here that live IN that watershed and didnt even know it along with the other thousands upon thousands that live there and might not use this website....but since you did...who repealled arseneic and mercury levels to higher and unsafe levels in water? who has been working for the past 4 years to pick apart and basically destory the Clean Water Act. Who is trying to push through a bill that would make government agencies immune to the Endangered Species Act (which is in enough of a mess right now anyways). Who has preserved the least amount of land since President Ford. Science has been bullied backwards 20 years in the last 4.

    I did dig deeper

    Ignorance may be bliss...but arrogance is uncalled for in the age of easily attainable information we live in.
  13. fishing pole

    fishing pole Off the beaten path

    *Healthy forest restoration act passed may 20, 2003. Calls for the cleanup and preservation of 175,000 million acres of land. Presently
    about 10 million acres have been cleared.

    * President Carter has he most land preserved at 66 million acres. President Reagan 2nd at 43 million. It is true that Bush is in last place but there is less land now then back then and private land conservatories have been gobbling up land a a record pace . To the tune of over 600 million acres since 1992.

    *Cooperative conservation issue signed in March of 2003 has found their budget increased by 24%. The last time they had a budget raise??? 1984

    *The President has proposed a new initiative to cut power plant emissions, as well as a bold new strategy for addressing global climate change. The Clear Skies Initiative cuts power plant emissions of the three worst air pollutants -- nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and mercury -- by 70 percent. The effort will improve air quality using a proven, market-based approach. It commits America to an aggressive strategy to cut greenhouse gas intensity by 18 percent over the next 10 years and supports vital climate change research and ensures that America's workers and citizens of the developing world are not unfairly penalized. The initiative:

    * Cuts sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions by 73 percent, from current emissions of 11 million tons to a cap of 4.5 million tons in 2010, and 3 million tons in 2018.

    * Cuts emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 67 percent, from current emissions of 5 million tons to a cap of 2.1 million tons in 2008, and to 1.7 million tons in 2018.

    * Creates the first-ever national cap on mercury emissions.

    * Overall, the Clear Skies initiative would:

    * Protect Americans from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases by dramatically reducing smog, acid rain, fine particles, regional haze, nitrogen and mercury deposition.

    * Protect our wildlife, habitats and ecosystem health.

    * Cut pollution further, faster, cheaper, and with more certainty, using a 'cap-and trade' program, replacing a cycle of endless litigation with rapid and certain improvements in air quality.

    * In April, the President announced an aggressive new national goal - moving beyond a policy of "no-net-loss" of wetlands - to restore, improve, and protect at least 3 million wetland acres over the next 5 years in order to increase overall wetland acres and quality. To meet this goal, the President called on Congress to pass his FY 2005 Budget request, which includes $4.4 billion for conservation programs. In December 2002, President Bush signed legislation reauthorizing the North American Wetlands Conservation Act for five years.

    * In May 2004, the president established the Great Lakes Interagency Task Force to address environmental and natural resource issues of national concern and better coordinate the region's sustainable development and restoration. The President's 2005 budget includes an unprecedented $45 million for the Great Lakes Legacy Program, almost five times the 2004 level of funding. These additional funds will allow EPA, in conjunction with its community partners, to begin remediating contaminated sediments at six sites. Sediment remediation will help keep toxics such as polychlorinated biphenyls and heavy metals from entering the food chain, where they could cause adverse effects on human health and the environment

    * regarding arsenic in the drinking water, here's what actually happened -- the Bush administration delayed a regulation issued by President Clinton late in his presidency that would have reduced the standard for arsenic in drinking water from 50 parts per billion to 10 ppb. Bush controversially delayed the implementation of the standard in order to review the science and consider possible levels from 3-20 ppb, all of which would have been significantly lower than the current standard. Finally, in October of 2002, the administration set the standard at 10 ppb, as Clinton had originally proposed. The President never proposed increasing the legally allowable levels and his administration certainly never "thought that maybe there wasn't enough arsenic in the drinking water,". This was claimed by Al Gore and then retracted by him as he read the bill in its entirety.

    iam not saying Bush is an enviroonmental god but he is not the soul source of our environmental problems. There are many other bills that have not been passed in congress because one party ties them to another bill. We all know they shake each others hands to get things through, they just cant agree on it all
  14. I have always wondered about the Grand. Those of you who are younger might not remember the Diamond Shamrock facility on the Grand way back. A lot of pretty nasty chemicals were manufactured there as well as some even nastier byproducts like PCB's. I wonder what might come up if you stir up the sediments on the bottom of the river. I don't know if either the state or the EPA are really interested in finding out.
  15. Well, I wouldn't eat any brown trout caught on Cuyahoga River north of Akron!
  16. Actually the old Diamond Alkali is an EPA superfund site...look into it at the EPA website....
    Grew up in Painesville...remember it well. Also remember that weeds wouldn't even grow around the place. YIKES!
    Phish Phil