BLUE RIBBON CITIZENS' PFIESTERIA COMMISSION

Harry R. Hughes, Chair (chosen by Governor)

Appointed by Governor: William (Will) Baker; Clinton S. (Clint) Bradley III; C. Bernard (Bernie) Fowler; Brian E. Frosh; Ronald A. Guns; Frederick W. (Rick) Nelson, Jr.; Lloyd L. Simpkins; Alfred Sommer, Ph.D.; Dolores R. Spikes, Ph.D.; John S. Toll, Ph.D.

Joann M. Burkholder, Ph.D., Consultant

Staff: Joseph C. Bryce

c/o Governor's Legislative Office
State House, 2nd floor, Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 974-3336; 1-888-584-3110 (fish health hotline)
fax: (410) 974-5252

The Governor appointed the Blue Ribbon Citizens' Pfiesteria Commission in September 1997. The Commission studied the toxic outbreak in Maryland waters of the microbe, Pfiesteria piscidida which occurred in the summer 1997. After determining causative factors, the Commission charge was to recommend short- and long-term solutions to prevent further toxic outbreaks in the Pocomoke River, Manokin watershed, and other State waters.

During its study, the Commission considered the threat to public health of the microbe in its virulent form; what environmental conditions cause the microbe to transform; and the impact of outbreaks on the State's seafood industry and agriculture. The Commission also determined whether high levels of nutrients, such as nitrogen or phosphorus, trigger toxicity in Pfiesteria; the sources of such nutrients in affected waterways; and methods to prevent these nutrients from reaching State waters.

The Commission reported to the Governor on November 3, 1997. In recommending solutions, the Commission evaluated what federal expertise and programs might be used and what level of interstate cooperation would be needed. The Commission also focused on immediate actions to combat the pfiesteria threat, and interim solutions for issues requiring further consideration and scientific study.

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