Thousands of dead fish floating near Lake Houston cause stench in Kingwood neighborhood

Courtney Fischer Image
Friday, December 14, 2018
Fish kill in Kingwood
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Neighbors say they've been dealing with quite the stench from thousands of dead fish.

KINGWOOD, Texas (KTRK) -- Some neighbors in Kingwood say they've been dealing with a horrible smell for days, and now they know why.

Texas Parks and Wildlife tells ABC13 the stench is due to what's called a "kill," and it happens naturally. Nothing is wrong with the water.

Thousands of the fish have popped up, floating from Lake Houston down tributaries.

"It's like the entire top of the water was lined with fish," said neighbor Jacob Duane, who reached out to Eyewitness News to help him find out what was going on.

The fish, which are called Shad, are all the same species. Texas Parks and Wildlife says fish can die when there's low oxygen in the water due to the combination of warm air and warm water.

This year, spokesperson Heather Biggs says there have been 25 to 30 kills reported at 17 different locations in our region. But this is also the first year they have seen so many kills, which usually occur in stagnant water.

"There hasn't been that much frustration, as much as sort of confusion and people just wondering what's going on," Duane said.

Texas Parks and Wildlife says if different kinds of fish were found dead, it could be a chemical issue and they'd investigate further.

It would test for ammonia, nitrogen and chlorine if there was evidence to suggest this was a further issue.

The agency released this statement about the fish kill:

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Kills and Spills Team has investigated numerous fish kills in the Houston-Galveston this year. TPWD biologists believe this kill is a naturally-occurring event as current conditions in the water are favorable for low dissolved oxygen kills due to warm air and warm water temperatures. The species involved in this location is predominantly several inch-long menhaden, also known as shiner or shad. These fish are often involved with fish kills as they are less tolerant of water quality issues.

The TPWD Kills and Spills Team is a group of biologists who respond to pollution reports or natural incidents that threaten state fish or wildlife resources. Anyone who sees dead or dying fish or wildlife or pollution threatening fish and wildlife can contact the 24-hour Communication Center at (512) 389-4848, or contact your local game warden.

But not everyone is complaining about the fish. The herons certainly enjoyed a big breakfast.

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