|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2012-02-17                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than seven years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [SL]
Feb. 17, 2012
Brady Creek Lake Hit with Golden Alga Bloom
BRADY, Texas -- Brady Creek Lake, a popular destination for bass, crappie, and catfish anglers near Brady, was diagnosed earlier this week with a toxic bloom of golden alga. This is the first time Brady Creek Lake has been impacted by this harmful alga.
This type of alga, which does not cause harm to humans or other mammals, has been the cause of substantial fish kills in over a dozen lakes in West and North Central Texas since 2001, including E. V. Spence and Possum Kingdom.
On Feb. 13, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) officials received complaints of dead fish floating on Brady Lake. Fisheries biologists conducted a fish kill count and collected water samples the following morning. Signs of an active golden alga bloom were present, according to biologists, including yellowish-colored water, foaming at the shore, and fish with hemorrhaging gills. An algal cell count and toxicity test confirmed a golden algal bloom.
"Some lakes that are hit with golden alga tend to be affected year after year, and the fisheries are severely impacted," said Mandy Scott, Assistant Fisheries Biologist in TPWD's San Angelo Inland Fisheries Management office. "But, other lakes, like Sweetwater or Whitney, experience blooms once or every few years, and the fisheries are able to rebound. We'll have to wait and see how Brady Lake responds to this."
TPWD is closely monitoring the bloom and its impacts, and will evaluate the need for restocking with fish after the bloom subsides.
Since the initial widespread blooms in 2001 that killed thousands of fish in multiple Texas lakes, TPWD and research partners have been investigating possible causes, impacts, and treatments of golden alga. So far, scientists have determined that the alga seems to be already present in many Texas water bodies, but water conditions must reach certain levels before the alga blooms and turns toxic. Salinity and hardness, temperature, and nutrient availability are all important factors. During droughts such as the one experienced in 2011, high evaporation rates and reduced freshwater inflows can cause increased salinity and hardness in reservoirs. So far, scientists have been able to control golden alga in small ponds with algaecide, but nothing practical has been found for effectively treating large reservoirs.
More information on golden alga and its impacts on Texas water bodies can be found at http://tpwd.texas.gov/landwater/water/environconcerns/hab/ga/.

[ Note: This item is more than seven years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Feb. 17, 2012
I'll Take the Dirt Road
The first wave of mountain bikers participated in the opening day of Dirt Fest 2012, a series of guided bike rides through miles of rugged and scenic Chihuahuan Desert inside Big Bend Ranch State Park near Lajitas, TX.
Participants of Dirt Fest 2012 can choose from several routes for trail rides, with varying degree of difficulty, including the challenging, 54-mile Epic Ride, 30-mile Rincon Loop, 18-mile Dome Trail and several other options. Most rides are guided by state park staff or other expert riders, such as those with Desert Sports, but folks can choose to ride individually as well.
Dirt Fest 2012 continues on thru Saturday, when some 250-plus riders are expected for the event's final day.
With more than 300,000 acres and hundreds of miles of available trails, Big Bend Ranch State Park is rapidly becoming known as a premier mountain biking destination.
For more information, contact Big Bend Ranch State Park at (432) 358-4444, or visit Desert Sports' Web site for more details about Dirt Fest 2012 at http://www.desertsportstx.com/.