In a new development that gets us basically no closer to determining the cause of the fish die-offs in the Lièvre river, the Ottawa Riverkeeper has announced that their tests show no sign of any toxin that could explain the mysterious events.

After the Ottawa Riverkeeper discovered that the Quebec government did not take water samples from the Lièvre river after the last die off on July 29th, they took it upon themselves to have the water tested.

From their Facebook Page:

We have now received the results from the water samples we took from the Lièvre River following the third dead fish incident on July 29. These samples were collected after it was discovered that the Quebec government had not taken any water samples following either of the first two incidents.

Based on our review of the lab’s results, there was no indicator in a range that could explain the killing of hundreds of fish from multiple species all at once. To achieve an even higher level of certainty, we are sending the results to an independent expert and will report on this additional analysis as soon as we hear back.

While we are disappointed that the cause of the recent dead fish incidents remains unexplained, we continue to ask questions and demand that all authorities conducting inspections and investigations be forthcoming with their own findings.

Ottawa Riverkeeper Staff testing the water after the third fish die-off this summer.
Ottawa Riverkeeper Staff testing the water after the third fish die-off this summer.

Yesterday the Quebec Ministry of the Environment posted that the most likely culprit to date was the nearby Brookfield hydro dam, but offered no details on how the dam might be the cause.

For Now, the most likely cause of dead fish in the outaouais would be related to the brookfield hydro power plant operations. Currently, however, there is no question of a source or a chemical spill.

Without excluding any scenario behind fish death, our team continues its monitoring efforts, while further evocations this track in the form of a formal ministry survey. All efforts are currently being made on the ground. Our Ministry, the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs and the public health branch (Dspu) continue to work closely together in this issue.

Quebec Environment Ministry Facebook post

This, despite tests done on dead fish by the “Centre québécois sur la santé des animaux sauvages” for MFFP that pointed to ‘acute intoxication’ as the cause. What data is now indicating that this is no longer a potential cause?

The Ottawa Riverkeeper rightly raises a number of new questions that come from the MMFFP’s recent declarations. The July 29 event was the third die off this summer, and many residents and environmentally-conscious folks are getting worried.

Hopefully further tests and some clarifications from the Quebec Ministry come soon.

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