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Bridge Visitors Get View of Mysterious Fish Kill

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It's not the 83,000 fish that were found dead back in December, but another fish kill is being looked at along the Arkansas River.

This time the kill is much closer to the capitol city. In fact, the dead fish are being spotted along a newly opened pedestrian bridge.

Investigators with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission worked Tuesday afternoon to estimate the size of this latest fish kill.

Theyalong with the Department of Environmental Qualityare also looking for a cause.

The natural beauty of the area around the newly opened Two Rivers Bridge attracts artists as well as fitness enthusiasts from bicyclists to strollers.

But this week there is another, less aesthetic sight capturing the attention of sightseers.

Dead fish.

And lots of them.

Some on the shoreline, others floating in the river.

Investigators were on the scene to determine the species affected, estimate the number of fish affected, and gather samples and information to help determine a cause.

It appears only one type of fishwhite bassis dead or dying. Other species appear finewhich suggests the cause of the kill is not chemicals or toxins.

Last month discharge from a paper mill caused a major kill in Louisiana and Mississippi (Pearl River). Back in June it was hot weather that killed off fish in a Virginia lake (Smith Mountain Lake). Bacteria was to blame for a major Georgia fish kill in May (Ogeechee River). And last winter cold weather killed two million fish in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay.

Many months after 83,000 freshwater drum fish went belly-up in the Arkansas River it was determined that ten spillways opened at Ozark Dam for ten hours caused gas bubble trauma in the dead fish.

Now investigators are working to solve another dead fish mystery.

The most common cause of major fish kills is oxygen depletion, but oxygen levels in the river tested normal on Tuesday.

Infectious diseases, parasites, pollution, temperature changes and underwater explosions are other possibilities.

Air date: September 20th, 2011

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