Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

October 21, 2013

Fish kill reported in Brazos River


Mineral Wells Index

— By CLINT FOSTER



A fish kill has been reported in the Brazos River and the cause is currently unknown.

A resident in the town of Brazos told the Index he noticed “hundreds of dead fish” floating along a three-quarter-mile stretch of the river, while on a walk along the banks last Monday. What made this fish kill odd to him was that he saw different species – bass, carp, shad, perch and minnows, to name a few – but no catfish.

While the source speculated the cause might be another golden algae bloom, he said that did not explain the absence of dead catfish.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Kills-and-Spills Pollution Biologist Alan Butler said he first heard about the fish kill earlier last week from a man who said he had kayaked along the area and noticed dead fish for about a 5-mile stretch.

“There were various, different species,” Butler noted, adding that the dead fish were mainly larger, game species, but said there were still gars and minnows swimming around.

“The river’s been fairly low ... with a low flow,” he said, and said he thinks the cause of the fish kill is “low dissolved oxygen.”

He said the drought, heat and low water in the area could be a factor, and, possibly, the recent rains and cold weather.

“There are a few different things that could have happened, but I would not suspect it would be golden algae at this time, it would have killed a lot more [species of fish].”

“We’re not sure how old the fish kill was,” Butler said, but noted that the citizen who kayaked up and down the river reported he did not see any visible sources of pollution, like an industrial spill or sewage pipes into the river.

“Early notification is the key,” Butler said, since they can better determine if pollution is involved.

He advises residents, who see a fish kill, call the Kills and Spills hot-line at 512-389-4848 or contact a local TPWD game warden.