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News Release

Final Pelican Mortality Report Released


ST. PETERSBURG, FL (April 3, 2017) –
After a nearly three-month investigation and study, independent scientists have released a report on what they believe killed or sickened dozens of pelicans in January of this year.

The findings from Arcadis -- whose scientists took numerous water samples from Coffee Pot Bayou and Riviera Bay Lake #1 (a mostly fresh-water retention pond) and studied the results carefully --  are contained in a final 90-page draft report just delivered to the city of St. Petersburg. Their theories on the introduction of nutrients into the lake, a cold-weather inversion and reanimation of a powerful neurotoxin that killed and debilitated fish that the pelicans ate were reached independently.

“It was a well-done study,” said John Palenchar, interim director of St. Petersburg Water Resources. “We are satisfied with the results. The consultant, who was hired immediately after the discoveries of so many sick birds, acted autonomously to perform a study that met their objectives to their best professional judgment.”

Of particular note are the recommendations made by the consultants – including further study, work to decrease the lake’s phosphorus levels, use of aeration, and coordination of incident response between the city and other stakeholders (such as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission). “This will give us a game plan to move forward,” added Palenchar.

The full report has been posted in its entirety at www.stpete.org/water/waterquality.php

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