North Texas Fish Kills and Tropical Storm Don

| July 29, 2011

Texas, as always, offers up a mixed bag of meteorological mayhem. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department issued a news release on fish kills in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and at the southern tip of Texas, the coast is getting ready for tropical storm Don to make landfall. If anyone thinks that automatically means relief for the middle of Texas, they’re sadly mistaken as a high pressure dome (hole in the atmosphere) remains strongly in place over the middle. The temperature relief on the Lower Laguna Madre as well as some freshwater to lower salinity, should make for an outstanding couple of weeks there. As for the heat, blooms, and fish kills here – look for my solution in a post next week – night fishing for largemouth bass.

From TPWD News Release – Summertime Fish Kills Affecting DFW Area Lakes

Fort Worth— As daytime temperatures remain above 100 degrees, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Inland Fisheries biologist are getting more calls from concerned anglers and pond owners in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex regarding fish kills.

“Unless the weather pattern changes in the near future, we expect to see more issues with fish kills as August rolls in,” said TPWD Inland Fisheries biologist Tom Hungerford.

A fish kill has been reported recently at Kimzey Park in Colleyville, which is likely attributable to a combination of low oxygen as well as a blue-green algae bloom. Blue-green algae produce toxins which can kill fish. Also, an ongoing fish kill is occurring at Lake Ray Hubbard involving blue and channel catfish and freshwater drum. “Monday, July 25, we estimated 2,071 dead fish based on three transect counts between the dam and IH-30,” said Melissa Dudley, a Kills and Spills biologist with TPWD. Low oxygen is suspected but the investigation is ongoing.

Water is a very interesting medium: As the temperature increases, the solubility of gases (specifically oxygen) decreases. With this in mind, fish are more likely to die of low oxygen stress when water temperatures are elevated because less dissolved oxygen is held in warm water and the fish’s metabolic requirements for oxygen are increased as temperature increases.

With record high low temperatures coming in recent weeks, surface water temperatures are reaching new heights. Small ponds are getting into the mid-90s while larger reservoirs are pushing 90 degrees. Also, the drought is lowering lake levels. Without sufficient rainfall, boating access may become impacted by low water.

Boaters and anglers are urged to use caution when on the water. Stay hydrated, wear a PFD at all times and carry a cell phone in case of an emergency.

Direct Information Links

Read the Release on Summer of 2011 Fish Kill on TPWD website.
National Hurricane Center Feed for TS Don.

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Category: Causes, Fish Kill, Science and Environmental

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I write. I photograph. I fish, and I live.

Comments (1)

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  1. shannon says:

    Disappointing rainfall totals coming in. Let’s hope we really don’t have to resort to hurricane rain dances to save Texas. We might just get what we wish for, and too much of it. If you haven’t been on the coast for a direct hit from a hurricane, you don’t know what your dancing about.