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City of St. Petersburg Assisting With Discovery of Dead And Sick Pelicans;  Testing Water for Cause

After more than one dozen pelicans have been found dead or sick in or near local waterways, the City of St. Petersburg Public Works Administration, which includes Water Resources and Stormwater departments, are working alongside the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and other local partners to remove the birds and identify the cause of the illness. 

“We are testing the water for biological indicators and dissolved oxygen content and expect results on Tuesday. Per Mayor Rick Kriseman’s direction, we are also pursuing more extensive testing in order to better determine a cause prior to Florida Fish and Wildlife’s necropsy results,” said Interim Director of Water Resources John Palenchar.

A cold-weather fish kill near Riviera Bay Lake last week was also accompanied by reports of sick pelicans. John Norris, Director for Stormwater, Pavement and Traffic Operations for the city said that more than one ton of fish were removed from the lake by his crew. “We have not yet determined if there is a connection between the fish kill in Riviera Bay and the pelicans found sick or dead in other parts of the city,” said Norris.

The Department of Environmental Protection has also been notified, although there are no reports of a recent spill or discharge into our waterways.

In an abundance of caution, signs with the following message have been posted along waterways from St. Petersburg’s downtown to Weedon Island.

WARNING
Unknown Potential Health Risk
DO NOT PLAY SWIM OR FISH IN THIS AREA
Due to recent Bird illnesses in this vicinity, residents and cautioned to avoid contact with surface water until further notice. Water Samples are being taken and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is being apprised of the situation. FWCC can be contacted at 888-404-FWCC.  The City Water Resources Department can be contacted at 727-893-7261.

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