TPWD: Lake Granbury golden algae fish kill reported

Mark Wilson

While golden algae blooms have killed fish in both Lake Granbury and Possum Kingdom Lake, officials are not necessarily expecting that to affect waterways in Somervell County, according to a spokesperson for the Brazos River Authority.

“Yes, there have been golden algae blooms on both Possum Kingdom Lake (Palo Pinto County) and Lake Granbury (Hood County),” BRA spokesperson Judi Pierce wrote in response to an inquiry from the Glen Rose Reporter on Monday. “However we don’t expect that the kills will continue downstream.

“It is possible the algae could bloom again as both these kills were very out of the ordinary for this time of year, but our biologists feel the higher temperatures will keep the algae from blooming again.”

Golden alga (Prymnesium parvum), according to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, is a single-celled organism that lives primarily in coastal waters as well as in rivers and lakes.

One definition online ( states that algae are photosynthetic creatures, adding that they are “neither plant, animal or fungi.”

When golden algae (the plurual form) “blooms” it produces toxins that can result in fish kills.

The TPWD also notes, “There is no evidence that golden algae toxins pose a direct threat to humans, other mammals or birds. Still, people should avoid picking up dead or dying fish for consumption.”

Such golden algae fish kills “may last for days, weeks or months.“ Sometimes only a portion of a lake is affected, but the location can change from one day to the next, according to the TPWD.

“Blooms are more likely to occur in cold weather, and sometimes taper off as the water warms and other species of algae become more active — but not always.”

The TPWD website states that the first confirmed case was in 1985 on the Pecos River in the Rio Grande Basin.

“Since then, golden algae has been responsible for multiple fish kills in five river basins,” according to the TPWD, and “more than 20 other states have reported blooms in recent years.”

The TPWD asks that if you spot a fish kill, or suspect the presence of golden algae, contact its 24-hour communications center in Austin at (512) 389-4848.