Smallmouth Bass Monitoring
Help LSRA and our partners monitor smallmouth bass populations through the Water Reporter App. Join our email list to receive updates and information about the program.
About the Smallmouth Bass Monitoring Program
LSRS in partnership with Chesapeake Commons and their Water Reporter App, has launched a Smallmouth Bass Monitoring Program. The program utilizes Water Reporter’s functionality in capturing time stamped geolocated pictures of Smallmouth Bass.
Join the program to become a citizen scientist and help us monitor the decline in our smallmouth bass poputlation.
More about the Smallmouth Bass Monitoring Program
The Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association in partnership with Chesapeake Commons and their Water Reporter App, has launched a Smallmouth Bass Monitoring Program. The program will utilize Water Reporter’s functionality in capturing time stamped geolocated pictures of Smallmouth Bass caught by anglers in the Susquehanna River and its tributaries, that have a perceived illness whether it may be a lesion, melanistic spot, or fungus.
The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission encourages the angling community to participate in this program so they can utilize the data to further their research on Smallmouth Bass issues. Please sign up today for our monitoring program!
The unsolved mystery remains, and it is now up to anglers to assist in doing something about it. The decline of the Lower Susquehanna River Smallmouth Bass fishery was first documented by fishermen and other river users in 2005.
After a 4 ½ year drought from 1998 to February 2003, in March of 2003 we received a flush of rain and built-up pollutants into the river. This may have been the trigger.
The evidence of the decline of the last 10 years can be seen in lesions, fin rot, bacterial infections, fish kills of mature and young smallmouth, and through research by the USGS that has shown parasitic infestations, and sexual mutations in the male Smallmouth population. Similar conditions have been found in the Potomac, Shenandoah, and James Rivers.
The Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association (LSRA) has been working with fishermen, scientists, and others to find the source or sources of the fish disease and deaths. Most of the federal financial resources have gone to the Potomac River Basin. Many of the effects seen in the Potomac River mirror the effects seen in the Susquehanna River, so the research is likely applicable to the Susquehanna River.
USGS’s Dr. Vicki Blazer has been researching this issue on the Potomac since it was first noted there. Results of her most recent study, Chemical contaminants in water and sediment near fish nesting sites in the Potomac River basin: Determining potential exposures to smallmouth bass, sheds additional light on environmental factors that may be causing intersex, lesions, immune deficiencies, and death in Smallmouth Bass.
Notably, atrazaine, an herbicide used in growing corn in the Susquehanna Valley, as well as bovine hormones and plant hormones have been found to correlate with Smallmouth Bass intersex. Discussions with USGS researchers suggest that the plant hormones may come from massive algae blooms experienced with increased frequency and severity in recent years in the Susquehanna River (caused by excess loads of the fertilizer phosphorus).
Join the program
Send us a message to introduce yourself and tell us what interests you most about the program and becoming a Smallmouth Bass Monitoring citizen scientist.