The drought across the state has had a negative impact on livestock as well as wildlife, and nothing has been more negatively impacted than fish and other aquatic species.
“When lakes draw down this severely, it concentrates the forage fish and the predator fish into a very small area. It’s a bonanza for predatory fish and for predatory birds because the fish are so tightly concentrated.”
Alan Rudd is a sport fish farmer in Burleson County.
“We’ve had oxygen problems, and in some cases just the intense heat, the water temperature gets so high that fish are dying. Some of them, the entire fish population dies out, in others you’ll have a partial fish kill, your big fish die, your little fish survive.”
We asked if there was anything lake owners should be doing.
“Thin your predators out. Thin your sport fish out. Take ‘em out. Do like the birds are doing. Start catching more fish and eating more fish. The problem with seining fish out of a lake is that you can, you’re never going to catch them all, and by getting in there and stirring up the mud on the bottom, you can create an oxygen problem, and it will happen immediately.”
There are some beneficial things that happen when lake beds dry out.
“The terrestrial plants that grow on these dried out banks will die and decay when the lake refills, and they, in fact, become a food source for a number of the insects that live in the lake and then the fish that feed on those insects.”
Many people are removing silt from their lakes.
“It’s a time that you can take advantage of by cleaning out lakes and ponds. All the bull dozer guys are really busy right now, deepening existing water bodies, and when a person goes in and deepens an existing water body, that shows that they have faith that, they know it’s going to rain, let’s prepare now.”
I’m Ashley Batey, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From The Ground Up.