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Aerial view of Metropolis Lake SNP ~ KSNPC photo by Marc Evans

Metropolis Lake Advisory

Benjy Kinman
Fish and Wildlife  

Eric Eisiminger
Environmental Protection 

Joyce Bender
Nature Preserves Commission

Since initial issuance in 2000, Metropolis Lake is still under a fish consumption advisory. Additional information on fish consumption advisories is available via the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resource's Fish Consumption Advisories page and Kentucky Division of Water's Fish Consumption Advisories page.

Original Advisory:
July 7, 2000 -- Three state agencies issued a fish consumption advisory for Metropolis Lake in McCracken County because of elevated polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and mercury levels. The advisory recommends that no more than one meal (one-half pound) per month of most fish should be eaten.

This advisory is being issued by the Kentucky Departments for Public Health, Environmental Protection, and Fish and Wildlife Resources. It is based on the agencies' review of fish contamination information provided by the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission. Fillets of largemouth bass and channel catfish taken from the lake were tested for organic chemical contaminants (PCBs and chlordane) and heavy metals (mercury, cadmium and lead). Other fish in the lake may contain similar levels of contaminants and should be eaten with caution. The data were assessed and the advisory recommended based on risk-assessment methods developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Great Lakes Sport Fish Advisory Task Force.

People who frequently eat fish, women of childbearing age and children are particularly susceptible to contaminants that build up in the body (such as PCB's and chlordane). Women beyond their childbearing years and men face fewer health risks from contaminants. However, those persons should also follow the advisory to reduce their total exposure and be especially careful to space meals over time. Spacing meals helps prevent contaminants from building up to harmful levels in the body.

Proper cleaning, skinning, trimming and cooking can reduce the organic chemical contaminant levels in the fish. Eat only skinless, boneless fillets with as much fat as possible removed. However, heavy metal contaminants such as mercury are distributed throughout the flesh of the fish. Cleaning and cooking precautions will not reduce the amount of mercury in the meal. In order to reduce your mercury intake, you must reduce the amount of contaminated fish that you eat. Because larger fish tend to have higher levels of contaminants, eat smaller fish.

This advisory is being issued to inform the public about the possible risks of eating unrestricted amounts of fish from Metropolis Lake. Metropolis Lake is popular with local anglers. The 50-acre lake and surrounding Metropolis Lake State Nature Preserve were purchased by the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission in 1984 to protect habitat for several species of fish considered rare in Kentucky. The monitoring of tissue residue levels in fish from Metropolis Lake is an ongoing program of the state agencies.