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Report to the Legislature:

At the request of Representative Keffer, potential research and management strategies for toxic golden algal blooms are presented. Toxic golden algae have killed millions of fish since 1985. If successful, these proposed research and management options will protect the economic and ecological values of our watersheds.


  • Brazos River Authority
  • Tarleton State University
  • Texas A&M University
  • Texas Agricultural Experiment Station
  • Texas Department of Health
  • Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
  • University of Texas
  • U.S. Geological Survey

Report to the Legislature

Summary | Overview | Work Areas | Appendices

Appendix I: Events Involving the Golden Alga in Texas (not including Hatchery Losses)

Start End County (ies) Affected Waterbody (ies) Count Value ($)
04/21/1985 4/27/1985 Loving Red Bluff Reservoir (off the Pecos R) 10,125 71,401
10/31/1985 11/10/1985 Crockett, Pecos, Terrell, Val Verde Pecos River 110,968 85,875
11/19/1985 11/20/1985 Val Verde Pecos River 300 89
11/20/1986 12/12/1986 Pecos, Terrell, Val Verde Pecos River 263,879 ** 2,140,534
10/25/1988 11/06/1988 Haskell, Throckmorton California, Paint Creek (off the Brazos R) 35,526 9,877
11/05/1988 11/16/1988 Reeves, Loving, Ward, Pecos, Crane, Crockett Red Bluff Reservoir, Pecos River 1,580,320 337,246
04/24/1989 05/16/1989 Haskell Paint Creek (off the Brazos R) 15,168 54,145
08/12/1989 08/29/1989 Runnels Colorado River 1,723  
08/30/1989 09/15/1989 Coke Colorado River 8,545  
12/06/1989   Reeves Pecos River 50  
11/03/1993 11/21/1993 Pecos, Terrell, Val Verde, Crockett Pecos River 33,124 22,927
12/05/1995   Crockett, Terrell Pecos River 7,733 22,023
10/05/1997 10/10/1997 Young Brazos River 640,647 75,326
06/25/1998 7/20/1998 Fisher Clear Fork of the Brazos River 33,874 9,558
01/11/2001 08/30/2001 Palo Pinto Possum Kingdom Reservoir(off the Brazos R) 200,027 257,371
01/27/2001 08/30/2001 Hood Lake Granbury (off the Brazos R) 409,952 370,243
04/13/2001 06/21/2001 Hill, Bosque Lake Whitney (off the Brazos R) 9,596 37,337
03/12/2001 Still Active Baylor Lake Diversion (off the Red R) 309  
10/20/2001 10/30/2001 Coke Lake Spence (off the Colorado R) 2,200,000 481,000
10/16/2001 10/30/2001 Howard Moss Creek Lake (off the Colorado R) 6400  
11/24/2001 Still Active Runnels Colorado River 2,100,000 465,000
Total 7,668,266 $4,439,952
** Value of fish lost and additional value of lost Threatened & (232 blue suckers & 3682 Rio Grande darters = $1,957,000) Endangered fish, $500 per fish
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Appendix II: Sources for More Information

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Bold, H. D. and M. J. Wynne. 1983. Introduction to the algae, 2nd Ed. Prentice-Hall, Inc. Englewood Cliffs, NJ. pp. 417-428.
Boyd, C. E. 1990. Water quality for aquaculture. Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, Auburn University, Alabama. Chang, F. H. and K. G. Ryan. 1985. Prymnesium calathiferum sp. nov. (Prymnesiophyceae), a new species isolated from Northland, New Zealand. Phycologia 24: 191-198.
Cheng, J. Y. and N. J. Antia. 1970. Enhancement by glycerol of phototrophic growth of marine planktonic algae and its significance to the ecology of glycerol pollution. Journal of Fisheries Research Board Canada 27 (2): 335-346.
Chisholm, S. W. and L. E. Brand. 1981. Persistence of cell division phasing in marine phytoplankton in continuous light after entrainment to light: dark cycles. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 51 (2-3): 107-118.
Cisneros, S. Fish Kills at Possum Kingdom and Granbury Under Investigation. Texas Parks and Wildlife News Release, Feb. 1, 2001.
Cisneros, S. Update on Possum Kingdom and Granbury Fish Kills. Texas Parks and Wildlife News Release, Feb. 9, 2001.
Comin, F. A. and X. Ferrer. 1978. Mass development of the phytoflagellate Prymnesium parvum Carter (Haptophyceae) in a coastal lagoon in the Ebro Delta. Oecol. Aquat., no. 3: 207-210.
Dafni, Z., S. Ulitzur, and M. Shilo. 1972. Influence of light and phosphate on toxin production and growth of Prymnesium parvum. Journal of General Microbiology 70: 199-207.
Dickson, D., M. J. and G. O. Kirst. 1987. Osmotic adjustment in marine eukaryotic algae: The role of inorganic ions, quaternary ammonium, tertiary sulphonium and carbohydrate solutes. II. Prasinophytes and haptophytes. New Phytologist 106 (4): 657-666.
Dietrich, W. and K. J. Hesse. 1990. Local fish kill in a pond at the German North Sea coast associated with a mass development of Prymnesium sp. Meeresforschung/Rep. Mar. Res. 33 (1): 104-106.
Droop, M. R. 1954. A note on the isolation of small marine algae and flagellates for pure cultures. J. Marine Biol. Assoc. U. K. 33:511-514.
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Engebretson, M. 2001. “Reports of Slow Business at PK Lake Supported by Latest Sales Tax Figures.” Lake County Sun. August 3, 2001.
Finnish Environmental Administration. 2001. Signs of sustainability- eutrophication. Finnish Environmental Administration Webpage, (
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James, T. and A. De La Cruz. 1989. Prymnesium parvum Carter (Chrysophyceae) as a suspect of mass mortalities of fish and shellfish communities in western Texas. Texas Journal of Science 41 (4): 429-430.
Jochem, F. J. 1999. Dark survival strategies in marine phytoplankton assessed by cytometric measurement of metabolic activity with fluorescein diacetate. Marine biology 135 (4): 721-728.
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Lee, R. E. 1980. Phycology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 478 pp.
Lightfoot, S. Golden Alga Wipes Out TPW Hatchery Striper Production. Texas Parks and Wildlife News Release, May 21, 2001.
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Parnas, I., K. Reich and F. Bergmann. 1962. Photoinactivation of ichthyotoxin from axenic cultures Prymnesium parvum Carter. Applied Micorbiology 10 (3): 237-239.
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Sabour, B., L. M. Loudiki, B. Oudra, S. Oubraim, B. Fawzi, S. Fadlaoui, M. Chlaida and V. Vasconcelos . Blooms of Prymnesium parvum associated with fish mortalities in a hypereutrophic brackish lake in Morocco. Harmful Algae News no. 21: An IOC Newsletter on Toxic Algae and Algal Blooms. The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, Nov. 2000.
Sager, D., G. Saul, and D. Buzan (eds.). 2001. The Toxic Golden Alga Workshop Report. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. FCTS-2001-002. 10 pp.
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Appendix III & IV

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