HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A state representative and advocates for the health of the Susquehanna River are calling on the Department of Environmental Protection to take immediate steps to begin a clean-up following the discovery of a cancerous fish.

State Rep. Sue Helm (R-Dauphin/Lebanon) and the Susquehanna River School, a floating educational program on the Pride of the Susquehanna riverboat, want the DEP to declare the Susquehanna an impaired river.

The move would open the doors for federal assistance and aid, and it would set a timeline for state government to clean up the river.

The Fish and Boat Commission and other advocates for the river’s health have been calling on the DEP to designate the Susquehanna as an impaired river for years, citing lesions and sexual mutations in a declining population of smallmouth bass.

The smallmouth bass with a tumor on its lip, caught in the river near Duncannon, is the first confirmed cancer. Advocates say it should serve as an immediate call for action.

“Everybody loves this river, everybody wants it to be cleaned up, but for some reason the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is dragging its feet,” William Cornell, founder and director of the Susquehanna River School said.