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Panelists discuss health of Susquehanna River after decline of fish

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SUSQUEHANNA TOWNSHIP, Pa. --Panelists discussed the health of the Susquehanna River Monday night after some people said they are concerned about the decline of fish in the river.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission can't seem to agree on what to do.

State Senator Rob Teplitz held HIS Sportsmen's Advisory Committee Meeting in Susquehanna Township, Dauphin County to discuss the health of the Susquehanna River.

Lee McDonnell with the DEP said some sections of the river in Central Pa. are impaired.

"We want to make sure we really have it right and we're focusing our time, effort and energy on what the pollutant of concern is and not really going out with a scattered gun approach," McDonnell said.

John Arway with the Fish and Boat Commission said there are less small-mouth bass in the river than there were before 2005.

He believes experts have a cause for decline in fish.

"The best scientists we have both federal, state and academic concluded that endocrine-disrupting chemicals and herbicides weee the likely causes of the sickness of those bass," Arway said.

He said the commission can't start try talking fix the problem in the river, until the DEP officially determines it's sick.

"Declare it impaired that opens up the gateway for funding to go look for a cause. Clean water act requires 13-15 years. Gives the DEP a 13-15 year time period to find the cause," Arway said.

The DEP said it can't find a definitive reason for the decline in the number of bass. McDonnell said the DEP needs to know what the cause is before diagnosing the river as impaired.

"In terms of getting more action or more investigation, I don't know if that's a true statement. I think we're investigating as much as we can now," he said.

No decision was made on what to do, but Teplitz said he's continuing to try to get the DEP and the commission to agree to a plan.