Fish Kill Near Lake Texoma
Linked to Golden Alga
State biologists from Oklahoma and Texas are working together
to investigate a minor fish kill near the Red River upstream of
Lake Texoma. Biologists believe golden alga found in water samples
taken from the area was to blame. This is the first time the naturally
occurring toxin has been documented in Oklahoma, and officials
view it as an isolated event.
Reports by area fishing guides Jan. 22 of dead and
dying gar and shad in Lebanon Pool, a 150-acre off-channel lake
in upper Lake Texoma, sparked investigations by the Oklahoma Department
of Wildlife Conservation and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
All the initial symptoms of the dead fish point
to golden alga, according to Paul Mauck, south central region
fisheries supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
The alga kills fish by releasing toxins into the water that cause
fish gills to bleed internally. There is no evidence to suggest
the toxins are a threat to human health.
Water samples taken from Lebanon Pool revealed high
levels of golden alga, however, subsequent samples from the Red
River upstream and downstream have been sent to Texas Parks and
Wildlife Department fisheries lab in Waco, TX for further analysis.
Were going to keep a very close eye
on this, said Kim Erickson, fisheries chief for the Oklahoma
Department of Wildlife Conservation. Right now were
optimistic that this bloom will remain isolated in the Lebanon
Pool, but biologists from both Oklahoma and Texas will be working
in the area taking water samples and looking for any more fish
Texas fisheries biologists were the first to discover
a golden alga fish kill in inland waters in the Western Hemisphere
when a fish kill was identified in the Pecos River in 1985. Since
2001, golden alga fish kills have occurred on 23 reservoirs in
Texas. The toxin has also been linked to subsequent fish kills
in North Carolina, South Carolina and New Mexico. This is the
first reported finding in the Red River basin downstream of Lake
Kemp, located southwest of Wichita Falls, TX.
Golden algal blooms typically occur in winter months,
often leaving a golden yellow ring around the lake shoreline.
Golden alga (Prymnesium parvum) is native to estuarine habitats
around the world. It is not known if the alga is a native or exotic
species to inland waters.
To learn more about golden alga log on www.tpwd.state.tx.us/hab.
The site includes a wide variety of information about harmful
golden algal blooms, including scientific research updates, frequently
asked questions and up-to-date news.
Anglers who see a fish kill or potential golden
algal bloom can the call the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservations
fishery division at (405) 521-3721.
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