Expert raises doubt about cause of fish deaths near Ottawa this summer

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OTTAWA — An Ottawa River monitor is skeptical of the Quebec government’s contention that a local hydro dam is to blame for the deaths of thousands of fish near the national capital.

The fish have turned up dead in four waves since July 8 on the Ottawa and Lievre rivers.

Last week, the Quebec government turned its sights on a hydroelectric dam on the Lievre River as the cause.

Ottawa River Keeper executive director Patrick Nadeau says the province has provided no information to back up its claim and should, at the very least, explain the reasoning to hopefully prevent another die-off of fish in the area.

He says the involvement of two provincial governments and the federal government has added confusion to the situation, underscoring the need for joint government management of any body of water that straddles more than one jurisdiction.

A spokesman for Quebec Environment Minister Benoit Charette says the most recent test results are still being analyzed and nothing more will be said about the hydro dam “hypothesis” to avoid tainting the investigation.