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River Authority investigating deaths of fish in San Antonio River due to freezing temperatures


  • Katie Hennessey
February's winter storm didn't just cause suffering to Texans that lost power and water; it also harmed the local fish population.

The San Antonio River Authority is looking into the deaths of fish found floating along the San Antonio River Walk, which it says were casualties of freezing temperatures, not poor water quality.

Dead fish have been seen floating in the San Antonio River due to uninhabitable water quality before, such as when an ammonia spill in San Pedro Creek killed more than 5,000 fish last July. This time, however, the fish floating lifeless in the downtown waterway were the result of temperatures in their habitat remaining below 50 degrees for a prolonged period, SARA officials said.

SARA reported that non-native tropical fish such as the blue tilapia and Plucostomus, or suckermouth catfish, can die when temperatures remain that low. The freezing temperatures also harmed native species, according to officials.

The Watershed and Parks Operation Department are working to remove dead fish from the San Antonio River. SARA asks members of the public to report dead fish sightings to its Environmental Investigations team online or by calling (866) 345-7272.

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