June 24, 2008

Black Flies Thriving in Cleaner Rivers

Scientists said black flies are thicker than ever in Maine this year, thanks in part to efforts to clean up lakes and rivers.

The federal Clean Water Act of 1972 has resulted in cleaner waterways and provided new habitats for black flies around the Penobscot and Kennebec rivers, where the flies hadn't been seen before, the Boston Globe said Monday.

Scientists said only the hardiest of the gnat-sized, biting insects could survive when Maine's rivers were contaminated by paper mills, raw sewage and other pollution. Some states control the black flies with a bacteria called Bti, but Maine officials refuse to put anything in the rivers unless it's to solve a human health crisis, the newspaper said.

We do not favor anything that is toxic to one organism because we often find out down the road they are toxic to others, David Littell, commissioner of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, told the Globe.