Algae bloom blamed for fish die-off at Atascadero Lake
October 20, 2013
By KAREN VELIE
A massive fish die-off at Atascadero Lake is suspected of being due to an algae bloom.
During the past few weeks, Atascadero public works crews have removed more than 2,000 pounds of fish carcasses from the lakeshore. The lake, which is surrounded by a walking trail, is a popular recreation spot.
Because of low rain and a buildup of organic material at the bottom of the lake, there has been a decline in water quality and an elevation in water temperature, according to a city staff report. Algae blooms, which thrive in warmer waters, decrease the water’s oxygen level leading to the death of fish and plants.
During the summer, the city implemented several emergency measures to combat smelly water quality issues at the lake including the instillation of three aeration fountains, pumps along the shoreline to aerate water, and the daily removal of dead fish from the shoreline.
On Tuesday, the city council will consider allocating up to $70,000 to remove sediment from the lake. According to a staff report, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has agreed to expedite a permit to dredge the lake, which would need to occur before the winter rainy season arrives.