Golden Alga Back in Texas

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AUSTIN, Texas — Fish kills caused by naturally-occurring, toxic golden alga are occurring at several lakes and river systems in North and West Texas.

An active fish kill on E.V. Spence Reservoir north of San Angelo has affected largemouth bass, white bass, and other species; however, 99 percent of the estimated 316,500 fishes killed so far are 3-5-inch gizzard shad.

High golden alga concentrations are believed to result from a strong cold front that came down around the first of December allowing the golden alga to multiply rapidly while other algal species’ growth slowed considerably.

E.V. Spence experienced a similar fish kill immediately following the first major cold front in December 2005 and stayed toxic through May 2006.

Another West Texas water body, Red Bluff Reservoir also has an active golden alga kill in progress in the upper section on the Texas/New Mexico border. No estimated losses are available from that reservoir at this time.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Inland Fisheries biologists and outside partners are also monitoring several other water bodies, including Possum Kingdom reservoir, which showed low concentrations of golden alga last week.

The upstream end of Lake Whitney also shows elevated golden alga levels, although no dead or stressed fishes have been seen or reported from there yet.

Lake Granbury also is reporting increasingly yellow-colored water, and the potential for an alga bloom there appears to be high.

Information about golden alga and fish kills, including the current bloom status for various river systems and reservoirs, is kept updated on the department Web site.

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