Now it is the James. After the Shenandoah smallies have been devastated over the last three years by fish kills, one has recently shown up in the James--in fact in one of TWK's favorite spots on a favorite smallie river. While scientists don't know for sure what is causing the infections and lesions, they suspect it has something to do with runoff from poultry litter.
To get rid of the waste products from all those big poultry operations, the owners give the litter--wood chips on the bottom of the houses that the chickens poop on--to farmers to spread on their fields for fertilizer. This stuff is good fertilizer. Perhaps too good. The land is over fertilized and when it rains, it runs off into the rivers. It is very sad.
We have made a lot of progress on the clean water front over the years but there are still threats, development and agriculture being the biggest ones today. Developers are an easy target, but no politician wants to run afoul of the agribusiness folks. While they spin themselves as such, these folks are not the family famers with a few chickens in the yard.
We need to get serious about doing something about the waste from large animal feeding operations. Either that or pray for drought.
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