Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Latest News

September 19, 2013

Fish kill at Mattie Caston natural

Lack of water, oxygen taking toll on lake

Corsicana — Big Cedar Creek borders Olin Williams’ property near Mattie Caston Park to the south and east and feeds into Richland Chambers Reservoir. Or at least it usually does.

“The creek has dried. The whole creek is dried completely,” Williams said Thursday.

At the end of the creek, under the Mattie Caston bridge, a fish kill is occurring, and it is nothing more than nature taking its course. The lake is down almost 10 feet, and when that happens, nature pays a price.

“Whenever it dries up like this, little pools of water get fish trapped in them,” Texas Game Warden Jimmy Woolley said. “Oxygen levels get depleted, and fish die off.

“It’s just nature taking its course.”

Woolley said its common currently in creeks around Navarro County. Fish simply don’t have ample water supply to survive.

With a 70 percent chance of rain on Friday, there is some optimism. But it’s a small window unlikely to overcome  current water woes. From February to August, Navarro County is 7.5 inches off on annual rainfall averages, according to totals from the National Weather Service out of Fort Worth. In 2012, the area rainfall was 14.43 inches off for the year.

At Mattie Caston, a popular hangout for fishermen, the evidence of the drought and subsequent fish kill is prevalent. Woolley has taken the calls, and Williams sees it first-hand.

Williams has owned the plot of land he built his family’s home on since 2005, and has seen varying levels of water depletion.

“This is the second time I could physically walk down into the creek bed,” he said.

There is one pool of water remaining, he said, a sink hole he estimates to be eight feet across, and maybe six feet deep. It has fish in it, he said. But that’s it.

He recently saw a number of needle nose gar trapped in mud, but there was no way to save them, he said.

“You could tell the hogs had already tried to get to them,” he said. “But there was no way. Oxygen levels get them, and eventually, they die. Then the buzzards come in.”

There are pros and cons to levels dropping, Williams said. The creek will rebuild habitat and stabilize, bringing in future bait fish, which will eventually draw the larger fish back.

“There are some good things that come out of it,” Kenneth Kay, fish and wildlife technician with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department out of Tyler agreed.

“When you get these low water levels, it can do different things,” Kay said. “It can allow for better sediments to oxidize the nutrients to get used by terrestrial vegetation that will eventually encroach back on the property.”

Aquatic vegetation can adapt, he said, and for a while it will serve as protection for younger fish.

A popular spot for wildlife to take a water break now around Mattie Caston is a stock pond behind Williams’ home. Normally, it’s 15 feet deep, he said. He estimates it’s six to eight feet at the moment. A clay bottom has kept it from drying up, he said.

While it may not be visible everywhere, Woolley said the conditions are ripe for fish kills.

“It’s happening in some of the creeks (around Navarro County),” he said. “A lot of times, you just don’t see it.”

——————

Want to “Soundoff” on his column? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com

1
Text Only
Latest News
  • 4-24-14 Peaches.jpg Peach crops largely unhurt by late freeze

    COLLEGE STATION – There were varied reports of damage to wheat, forages and fruit and nut crops from the hard freeze on April 15 from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service personnel throughout the Central, Rolling Plains, South Plains and Panhandle regions.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-23-14 DerrickDays.jpg Derrick Days: Downtown Chowdown

    Derrick Days is ready to go, with events escalating everyday until the big Saturday celebration, with dozens of activities that day alone.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-23-14 TownHall.jpg Navarro College Town Hall shares updates

    Reaching out to the community, inviting the civic groups to the campus, and doing a better job of sharing the story of Navarro College were some of the ideas brought up at a college Town Hall event held Monday.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • CISD board hears facilities study results

    The long-awaited CISD facilities report from the Texas Association of School Boards was delivered, at least in a short form, Monday at the Corsicana board of trustees meeting.

    April 22, 2014

  • Train accident victim identified

    A 61-year-old Corsicana man was taken to Parkland Hospital Monday night after he was struck by a train as he tried to cross a railroad track on foot.

    April 22, 2014

  • Report: West plant explosion preventable

    The fertilizer plant explosion that killed 15 people last year in a tiny Texas town could have been prevented, even if it's still not clear what started an initial fire that triggered the blast, federal officials said Tuesday.

    April 22, 2014

  • Local Beat for 4/23/14

    A listing of meetings and events of interest from throughout Navarro County

    April 22, 2014

  • DPS urges online driver's license renewal

    Renewing a Texas driver's license doesn't necessarily mean waiting in long lines or prepping your best photo ID look for the camera. The Department of Public Safety on Tuesday urged residents to renew online and beat the typical summer rush at driver's license offices.

    April 22, 2014

  • Agency report on West blast to be released

    It has been a year since a fire caused a huge explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant that killed 15 people, yet companies in the state can still store hazardous chemicals in flammable wooden containers in buildings without sprinklers and volunteer firefighters like those who rushed into that plant still aren't required to train how to fight such fires.

    April 22, 2014

  • 4-22-14 Aldis.jpg ALDI gets set for May 1 opening

    The much anticipated opening of a new ALDI Grocery store in Corsicana is just two weeks away.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs
Twitter Updates