TxDOT Makes Changes in Construction After Fish Kill


falon-lake-veleno-bridge-under-constructionKRGV | September 07, 2016

ZAPATA – TxDOT is making changes at a construction site after a fish kill at Falcon Lake.

The city of Zapata is a popular fishing site. James Bendele with Falcon Lake Tackle said people from all over the country come to Zapata to fish.

“We have a reputation as being a great bass fishing lake,” he said.

Recently, hundreds of fish in the area turned up dead.

There is a bridge in the south end of Zapata that leads those visitors to a fishing area. TxDOT is building a new bridge.

To move the heavy equipment, they had to build a temporary dam, a berm. They said it was put to separate Falcon Lake and Arroyo Veleno.

Workers put in a pipe to keep the lake and the arroyo connected, but the pipe didn’t work. Afterwards, two natural events occurred that lowered the oxygen levels in the lake and supposedly killed the fish.

“For the meantime, I think most of the fish that are behind that thing are dead. I don’t think that there’s a bunch of game fish left over there,” said Bendele.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department are asking TxDOT to do more. Related Article: TxDOT works to improve rural roadways 

Kills and Spills Team Regional Biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife Alex Nunez said they don’t think the berm caused the oxygen level to do down. But when it did, he said the dam isolated the affected fish.

“There’s some concerns that the culvert itself, that the berm was restricting water movement,” he said.

He said the department wants to see a bigger connection, so both fish and water can move around and make things better.

“If it was me and I killed a bunch of those fish, the state would be after me to pay restitution for it,” said Bendele. Read more…