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Brown Tide in Texas

Current Status

The location of brown tide is heavily influenced by winds and currents, so changes can occur within hours. In addition, brown tides are patchy in nature and don't cover the whole Laguna Madre. TPWD does its best to keep the public informed of where brown tides are occurring; however, the information below should be considered general, as conditions may change, even over the course of a day.

May 21, 2013

There is a particularly heavy bloom of brown tide stretching from the JFK Causeway in Corpus Christi to the Baffin Bay complex. Though the brown tide is not known to be toxic to people or other organisms (with the exception of larval fish), it reduces water clarity and can make fishing difficult. Another concern is that the reduced sunlight can adversely affect seagrasses, which are important habitat for fish.

March 29, 2012

On March 28 TPWD staff received notifications of water clarity issues in the upper Laguna Madre. Testing confirmed the presence of brown tide (Aureoumbra lagunensis) in the sample taken from the western shoreline of the Laguna Madre along the King Ranch property. The extent of the bloom is unknown, but field observations and reports suggest the bloom ranges from the John F. Kennedy causeway south to the northern mouth of Baffin Bay. Biologists will monitor the bloom.

February 26, 2010

Brown Tide in the Lower Laguna Madre

TPWD has received reports of discolored water in the lower Laguna Madre and water sample analysis by UT-Pan American has confirmed a bloom of Aureoumbra lagunensis, the brown tide. The bloom is suspected to occur in patches throughout the lower Laguna all the way to the Land Cut.

January 22, 2010

Brown Tide Confirmed in the Lower Laguna Madre

Responding to a report of discolored water in the lower Laguna Madre, TPWD collected water samples on Wednesday, January 6 at the Isla Blanca boat ramp and Amberjacks restaurant. Brown tide was confirmed by the TAMU-CC Center for Coastal Studies. Additional samples were collected last week and plans for monitoring are being discussed.

August 8
Brown tide is still in the Upper Laguna Madre and is concentrated in the canal subdivisions. No reports of brown tide in Corpus Christi Bay.

July 19
Brown tide continues to be seen in the upper Laguna Madre, especially in canal subdivisions. No report was received from the lower coast this week, as they are bracing for Hurricane Emily.

June 30
TPWD continues to receive reports of discolored water due to brown tide in the Corpus Christi area. Patchy blooms continue to occur throughout the lower Laguna Madre.

June 14
TPWD continues to receive reports of discolored water due to brown tide in the Corpus Christi area. Patchy blooms continue to occur throughout the lower Laguna Madre.

June 9
UTMSI has sampled Baffin Bay and the Intracoastal Waterway for a second time. Sample stations are identical to those of the May 20 survey. A. lagunensis cell counts are similar to those seen on May 20. Brown tide concentrations are higher along the Intracoastal Waterway than in Baffin Bay.

June 4
Brown tide remains in the Laguna Madre in concentrations above 1 million cells/ml. It has been reported in canals in Flour Bluff as well with concentrations above 2 million cells/ml. No fish kill has been reported. Researchers at the UT Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas are monitoring the bloom.

May 20
UTMSI has sampled portions of the Intracoastal Waterway and Baffin Bay for brown tide. The water samples taken in Baffin Bay were fairly clear, and test results were typical of non-bloom conditions. There was lots of discoloration in the Intracoastal Waterway samples, and data shows that brown tide cell counts are elevated.

May 5
Brown tide is still blooming in the Port Mansfield area north to the Land Cut. The area around Port Isabel and the Arroyo Colorado is clear right now. Anglers that can find clear water have been successful using artificial bait.

April 7
Brown tide is still pretty solid from the Land Cut down through the lower Laguna. However, anglers are able to find areas of clear water from Port Mansfield down to Laguna Vista and further south, and report success with artificial bait.

March 17
Biologists Randy Blankinship, Mike Weeks, and Meridith Byrd participated in an overflight of the entire Laguna Madre today to look at the extent of the brown tide. It appeared to be the densest in the Lower Laguna Madre with heavy to patchy blooms occurring from the Land Cut (at the north) to Laguna Vista and almost to the Queen Isabella Memorial Causeway (at the south.) Clear water existed at the very end of the Lower Laguna Madre near the Brazos Santiago Pass and South Bay. The Land Cut and the Upper Laguna Madre appeared to have, at the most, a low density bloom and in many areas seemed brown tide free. Brown tide was present in dense blooms in the upper reaches of Baffin Bay including both the Laguna Salada and Cayo del Grullo. A patchy bloom appeared to be present in 9-Mile Hole.

March 3
Tracy Villareal has confirmed the presence of A. lagunensis in water samples taken from the Laguna Madre. Tests run by Ed Buskey of UTMSI provided the confirmation.

February 25
Since brown tide is suspected as the cause of discolored water in the Laguna Madre, TPWD biologists have been asked to collect additional water samples from the lower Laguna for testing by the UT Marine Science Institute. Biologist Randy Blankinship collected a water sample on Tuesday and sent it to UTMSI. Further tests are needed to determine if the sample contains Aureoumbra lagunensis, the organism responsible for the Texas brown tide of the 1990s.

February 1, 2005
TPWD has received word that a water sample from Baffin Bay may contain brown tide. The sample was collected by an angler who noticed discoloration in the water. Researchers at the UT Marine Science Institute will run tests to confirm.

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