Heat, calm winds blamed for dead fish at Medi-Park Lake

Charles Munger, Texas Parks and Wildlife District Fisheries Biologist
Charles Munger, Texas Parks and Wildlife District Fisheries Biologist

By Sarah Seeley
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - Recent extreme heat and calm winds have caused concern over large amounts of dead fish at a local lake.

More than 100 dead catfish were seen floating on top of the water near the edges of Medi-Park Lake.

Local fishers say they are worried there wont be anything left to catch if this keeps up.

"It bothers me because those fish need to be caught and released or brought home and ate," said fisher David Lane.

While this wasn't a total fish loss like the lake had in the 1980s, Texas Parks and Wildlife says fish kills like this weekend's happen anytime temperatures reach the high 90s and low100s and the wind dies down.

"It's been happening for a number of years," said Charles Munger, Texas Parks and Wildlife District Fisheries Biologist.  "It typically happens right about this [time of] year and it's just because of the weather patterns that we get at this time."

Texas Parks and Wildlife tested the lake water yesterday and found the oxygen levels half of what they should be.

"The fish need to breath oxygen just like any other living creature and when the oxygen level drops in the lake then they're just like you would [be] if you were in a situation where your air was disappearing," said Munger.

The outer areas of the lake tested oxygen levels at 2 parts-per-million in the outer parts of the lake and 3 PPM near the fountain.

Tuesday's lower temperatures and increased winds have allowed those low oxygen levels to increase slightly.

Munger says adding the fountain to the lake has increased oxygen levels in the center of the lake, but more is needed if high temperatures continue.

"[We need] more fountains or a bubbler system, [which] essentially is just compressed air that you can run in there and it circulates the water and it helps actually to get rid of the organic matter that's accumulated on the bottom of the lake," said Munger.