Dead Fish Line Lubbock Shorelines - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/8/03

Dead Fish Line Lubbock Shorelines

The cool weather we keep having, along with low water levels may be to blame for hundreds of dead fish. We've received several calls and e-mails here at NewsChannel 11 about dead fish along the shores of Buffalo Springs Lake. Now we know it's because of an algae, called Golden Alga.

The reports of dead fish in the area started coming into the Texas Parks and Wildlife back in February. A team took water samples and determined the cause was Golden Alga. A free floating plant with a toxic bloom.

"When this bloom occurs those microscopic plants in the water emit several toxins in the water and they are only hazardous to gill breathing organisms such as fish and clams. What that does is causes their gills to stop functioning and they can't extract the oxygen from the water so these fish die, much like if you held your breathe until you passed out," said Rick Gully, a Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Warden.

Gully says the algae is not harmful to people or other animals. Unfortunately there's no way to remove the algae, it just has to run it's course. "With the weather warming up and other algae populations popping up hopefully the bloom will cease and the fish will stop dying."

Tall patches of grass line the shore of Buffalo Springs Lake, and we found that when the tall grass ends in a cove you can see several dead fish. "I've seen a few but no great lot of them, I don't go down there everyday but yesterday I drove around looking at new construction and I'd stop and see three or four in one place then a couple in another," Buffalo Springs Resident Bill Swinney said.

But don't let the algae stop you from lake fun, the living fish are still fine to eat.

The City of Lubbock has picked up about 1500 pounds of dead fish out of Canyon Lakes, but they haven't found any in the last three weeks.

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