Officials with the City of St. Petersburg are working alongside the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to find out why dozens of pelicans have been found dead or sick near local waterways.
The city wants everyone to use caution along the waterways from St. Petersburg's downtown area to Weedon Island. Signs have been posted that read:
Unkown 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.
"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.
— St Pete Public Works (@StPetePW) January 16, 2017
There was a cold weather fish kill near Riviera Bay Lake last week which was 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.
Bottom line, pay attention to the signs and be careful. The signs will stay posted until officials learn what's going on.