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Quarterly Ecological Surveys in the Pearl River

Quarterly Ecological Surveys in the Pearl RiverSince 2006, Environmental Business Specialists (EBS) has been conducting quarterly ecological surveys in the Pearl River. The surveys are conducted in the upper Pearl River near Monticello, Mississippi and the lower Pearl River near Bogalusa, Louisiana. Fish and water quality stations are sampled above and below paper mill effluents in order to determine the effects of paper mill wastewater on river water quality and fish population health. EBS has been conducting this survey since the retirement of Dr. Royal D. Suttkus. Dr. Suttkus developed the scope and framework of these surveys and conducted the survey for forty-two years.

The survey includes measurements of thirteen water quality parameters at thirteen water quality-sampling stations. The sampled parameters are water temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, dissolved oxygen saturation, biochemical oxygen demand, suspended solids, free carbon dioxide, bicarbonate alkalinity, sulfates, chlorides, color, turbidity and iron.  Direct measurements are taken with a YSI 556 handheld multiparameter meter. Other water quality parameters are measured at EBS’s lab in Mandeville, LA.

Dr. Kyle R. Piller, an Ichthyologist at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, LA supervises fish collection and identification. Fish sampling consists of fifteen minutes of sampling at eight fish sampling stations. A ten-foot mesh seine is used for all fish collecting. Sampling is typically initiated at the head of the point bar at each station and continued downstream along the bar within 1-7 meters from the edge of the sand bar. Sampling consists of five seine hauls at each location. Once collected, fishes are fixed in the field with commercial grade formaldehyde. Fish species sampled during this survey include, Blacktail shiners (Cyprinella venusta), Bullhead Minnows (Pimephales vigilax), Mississippi Silver Minnows (Hybognathus nuchalis), Mimic shiner (Notropis volucellus), Longnore shiner (Notropis longirostris), Weed shiner (Notropis texanus), and Western mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis).

This continuing survey has resulted in forty-seven years of biological data, which has allowed our clients to monitor the relationship between paper mill wastewater effluent and the health of receiving streams.