Nov. 13 - UPDATE: Brushy Creek Fish Kill

Brushy Creek, Cedar Park, Brush Creek Texas, Fly Fishing, Fly Fishing Texas

Here is the latest information I have regarding the fish kill on Brushy Creek in Cedar Park.  I received an email from Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Spills and Kills that said:

"On November 1, 2021, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department received a notification of a fish kill in Brushy Creek in Cedar Park, Texas.  On November 2, 2021, biologists with the TPWD Kills and Spills Team went on site to investigate.  The biologists took water quality readings in the area of the fish kill and found that the dissolved oxygen, pH, and specific conductivity were all within normal ranges for the creek.  They found dead fish from the confluence of Brushy and Cluck Creeks, just downstream of the Twin Lakes Dam, and continuing on downstream to Brushy Creek Lake.  Many of the dead fish were in an advanced state of decay and were found up on the banks in wrack and debris indicating a high flow event carried the carcasses above the normal creek level.  A review of a nearby USGS Gage indicated that a high flow event occurred on October 27, 2021 causing the creek to increase flow from approximately 30 CFS to 130 CFS.  The Kills and Spills Team believes that the fish died sometime before October 27, 2021.

On November 3, 2021, Kills and Spills Team biologists returned to the site to conduct an assessment on the fish killed.  The biologists estimated over 3,000 fish died during the event.  The species of dead fish observed included Central Stonerollers, Sailfin Mollies, Green Sunfish, Longear Sunfish, Bluegill, Redbreast, Rio Grande Cichlids, Largemouth Bass, Yellow Bullhead Catfish, Orangethroat Darters, Western Mosquitofish, Blacktail Shiners, and Channel Catfish.

On November 4, 2021, a biologist with the Kills and Spills Team went on-scene with investigators from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.  The TCEQ investigators interviewed the staff at the nearby wastewater treatment plant and did not find evidence that the plant operated outside of its discharge permits.

TPWD and TCEQ looked at possible causes of the fish kill such as sanitary sewer overflows from the wastewater treatment plant, a hypolimnetic release from the Twin Lakes dam and the NRCS flood control reservoir upstream of Twin Lakes, discharges or spills into Cluck Creek, broken water mains or sewer lines, and chlorinated water discharges from pool drainings, and nearby car washes.  The TPWD Kills and Spills Team could find no evidence to confirm any of these as the cause of the fish kill.  TPWD will be surveying this reach of Brushy Creek as part of next year’s sampling plan.  The data collected during the survey will help TPWD evaluate the impact of this fish kill.

Anyone who observes a fish kill is encouraged to call the TPWD Kills and Spills Team hotline at 512-389-4848."

So unfortunately, we do not have an answer from Texas Parks and Wildlife regarding the cause of the fish kill on Brushy Creek.  

I find it interesting that they are now pretty sure that the fish kill occurred before the high flow event.  This leads me to believe even more that these fish did not die from a natural event, but something completely man made.  Either someone is not telling the truth, or the right things have not been looked into.  

As always, I will continue to look into this event, do my best to find the cause, and help try to prevent these events from occurring in the future.  

If you have any information or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment on this post or email

Peace Out-side, Y'all.

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