Updated Update: Fish Kill on Brushy Creek

Brushy Creek, Cedar Park, Texas Parks and Wildlife, TPWD Spills and Kills

Passing along the information that I have received regarding the recent Fish Kill on Brushy Creek.  This information has come directly from a Texas Parks and Wildlife Spills and Kills Biologist from Region 1 (our region.)

"We believe that the fish died sometime on or before October 27.  This is based on the decomposition and the position of many of the fish up on the banks of the creek after a high flow event.  Whatever occurred at that time is not currently ongoing.  We did not see fresh dead fish or stressed out dying fish in the creek, and the water parameters are normal.  We are looking into any activity that occurred last week to see if it contributed to the kill.

If this was due to a chemical spill, the acute effects would make it difficult to detect in tissue samples.  Also, the advanced state of decomposition of the fish would make it difficult to examine organs that an acutely toxic chemical would attack such as the gills or liver.

I just wanted to let you know that we haven’t come to a conclusion as to the cause at this time and we are still looking into this.  I will update you as we learn more.  Thank you for your concern for Brushy Creek."

So, from this I gather the following:

Good News:

  1. TPWD Spills and Kills is still looking into this matter and has not ruled anything out.
  2. There does not appear to be any more fish dying in this stretch at this time.

Bad News:

  1. We have no answer yet, and we might not ever get one from TPWD.
  2. Maybe they are not seeing any more fish dying because so many died in the original kill?
I don't know what caused the fish kill on Brushy Creek.  I do know that I will continue to try and find answers so that we can try to prevent this from happening again if this event was the result of something man did (not 100% natural.)

I have spoken with the YMCA at Twin Lakes (in Cedar Park, just upstream from the event) and they have not seen any dead fish or evidence of a fish kill in their lakes.  There has also been no reports (to my knowledge) of fish kills below Brushy Creek Lake.  So this fish kill does appear to be restricted to the stretch of the South Fork of Brushy Creek between these two areas.

I don't want to spread rumors but here are some of my thoughts: I know that there is ongoing construction near this area on Bell Boulevard, and I can't help but wonder if runoff from the heavy rains that occurred at the time brought some chemical or debris from this construction into the water and contributed to the die off.  Maybe someone or some business had an accident (or overused a chemical on their lawn) just before the heavy rains.  I really do not know.  But I do know that I have seen numerous flash flood events and have never seen them lead to a fish kill of this size...but I could be wrong.

As I have said, Texas Freshwater Fly Fishing is continuing to look into this and will keep you posted on any new information that I find.

If you have information on this, please contact texasfreshwaterflyfishing@gmail.com 

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