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Archived Status Reports - 2012

October 5, 2012

At this time there is no red tide occurring anywhere along the Texas coast.

September 14, 2012

There is no red tide occurring anywhere along the Texas coast. Effective Thursday, September 13, the Central and East Approved Areas of Galveston Bay and the Smith Point Approved Area of Galveston Bay will be opened to the harvesting of shellfish. Effective Saturday, September 15, Conditionally Approved Area 1 of Galveston Bay will open as well.

September 4, 2012

No red tide-related impacts were reported from anywhere along the coast over the holiday weekend. The Department of State Health Services collected water samples from 8 sites within Galveston Bay today; no K. brevis were found in any of the samples. This is great news for the upper coast.

August 29, 2012

Padre Island National Seashore staff are monitoring their shores closely. No K. brevis has been found at the northern park boundary or at the 5 mile marker. DSHS continues to monitor levels of K. brevis inside Galveston Bay, including at Houston Ship Channel Markers 16 (Bolivar Roads), 25 (Texas City Dike), 35, 47 and 55, the east end of Seawall Blvd, and all along the south jetty. Though red tide was found at all Galveston Bay locations, levels are too low to cause fish kills or aerosol impacts. No red tide-related fish kills have been reported from anywhere along the coast in over 2 weeks.

August 28, 2012

A volunteer Red Tide Ranger collected samples around South Padre Island this morning. None of the water samples (Brazos-Santiago Pass, Isla Blanca Boat Ramp, UT Pan-American Coastal Studies Lab) contained any K. brevis.

August 27, 2012

Very low concentrations, too low to kill fish or cause aerosol effects, were found on Friday around the South Padre Island area, including Boca Chica at Highway 4, Sea Ranch Marina and the city’s Gulf beach at Gay Dawn Circle. No impacts were reported over the weekend and additional samples collected today from Boca Chica, Brazos-Santiago Pass and the UT-Pan American Coastal Studies Lab all contained no K. brevis.

DSHS continues to find cells in Galveston Bay, but no fish kills or aerosols have been reported from the upper coast in almost 2 weeks.

August 23, 2012

TAMU researchers participated in the NOAA hypoxia cruise last week. Surprisingly, no K. brevis were found offshore, only within Galveston Bay.

The Imaging Flow CytoBot deployed at Port Aransas has not detected any K. brevis to date. Padre Island National Seashore staff found no K. brevis in samples collected on Tuesday from the northern park boundary, the 5 mile marker or the 15 mile marker.

August 22, 2012

DSHS continues intensive red tide monitoring of Galveston Bay. Samples collected Monday confirm that K. brevis cells are still being found in the bay, though concentrations are not high enough to cause fish kills or respiratory/aerosol effects.

August 21, 2012

Yesterday’s fish kill at the Turtle Bay boat ramp near Palacios has been attributed to oxygen depletion, possibly due to Sunday’s rain showers. Dissolved oxygen levels in the water were very low, ranging from 0.14 mg/L to 0.5 mg/L and no evidence of red tide was found. TPWD has received no new reports of red tide-related impacts anywhere along the coast.

August 20, 2012

TPWD received a report of a fish kill at the Turtle Bay boat ramp near Palacios this afternoon. It is not yet known if this is related to the red tide event; water samples will be analyzed to determine if K. brevis is the cause. No other areas along the upper coast saw any fish kills, aerosols or other red tide-related impacts over the weekend. The lower coast remains unaffected by this bloom. TPWD, DSHS, TCEQ and others continue to closely monitor the event in order to supply the public with the most current information.

August 17, 2012

The red tide has not caused any new fish kills along the upper coast since early this week. The Texas Department of State Health Services continued to find low concentrations of K. brevis in their samples collected yesterday from Houston Ship Channel markers 16, 25 (Texas City Dike), 35, 47 and 55, the east end of the seawall and both ends of the south jetty. However, no dead fish or discolored water were seen. Biologists continue to monitor the event.

TCEQ biologists traveled around lower Galveston Bay on Thursday and observed no signs of red tide (discolored water, dead fish, aerosols) at the Galveston Yacht Basin, the Texas City Dike area, the Texas City Ship Channel and the Pelican Island area.  

A volunteer phytoplankton monitor collected samples from Drum Bay and the Swan Lake Boat Ramp on Thursday morning and found no K. brevis cells and no dead fish. He reported active mullet, healthy looking fish populations, and feeding pelicans and terns.

August 16, 2012

Fish kills: As of August 15, TPWD assessed the fish kills occurring along 20 miles of beach shoreline, including Bolivar Peninsula, Galveston and Surfside. Estimates are just under 1 million fish dead due to the red tide, and Gulf menhaden comprise nearly the entire number. Hardhead catfish and gafftopsail catfish were also found, though in very small numbers relative to the menhaden.

Upper Coast: The overflight of the upper Texas coast flew from east of High Island to the west end of Pringle Lake, including the Gulf beaches and all major/minor bays. No visible red tide was observed anywhere, though biologists did observe one area of discolored water in Keller Bay near the Alcoa plant. No dead fish were seen on the beaches or in the water. Monitoring continues along the upper coast. The absence of visible bloom does not mean that the red tide is gone, but rather that cell counts are not high enough to discolor the water.

Lower Coast: The overflight of the lower Texas coast flew from Pass Cavallo near Port O’Connor to the Rio Grande, including the Gulf beaches and major/minor bays. Biologists saw no indication of any red tide along the Gulf beaches, though they did observe an area of discolored water within Aransas Bay that was later determined not to be red tide.

The lower coast will continue to be monitored regularly for any sign of red tide. The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Center for Coastal Studies found no K. brevis cells in Mission Bay this week. Padre Island National Seashore instituted their red tide monitoring effort, finding no cells at the northern park boundary, the 0 mile marker or the 5 mile marker. No cells were found at South Padre Island Beach Access 6 by the Red Tide Rangers.

August 15, 2012

Water samples collected Monday by the Texas Department of State Health Services confirmed the presence of red tide at various locations within Galveston Bay: Houston Ship Channel markers 16, 25 (Texas City Dike), 35, 47 and 55, the east end of the seawall, and at both ends of the south San Luis Pass jetty. No K. brevis cells were found at the tide gauge marker near Bolivar Peninsula’s Goat Island. Galveston Parks Board officials are working to remove dead fish from their beaches.

Biologists are monitoring the situation further south along the Texas coast but so far there is no indication of red tide in the Port Aransas, Corpus Christi or South Padre Island areas.

The TPWD coastal overflight remains scheduled for Thursday. Biologists hope to better assess the extent of the red tide during the flight, as patches of bloom and dead fish can often be seen from the air.

August 13, 2012 – afternoon

TPWD began receiving reports of fish kills on Friday, August 10. The reports were from Quintana Beach to the mouth of the Colorado River and included mostly Gulf menhaden with a few mentions of gafftopsail and hardhead catfish. Additional fish kills were reported over the weekend at Surfside Beach and Galveston; samples were collected from the Surfside jetty and San Luis Pass to look for Karenia brevis. Dead flounder and stingrays have been reported at Kemah and Bacliff; biologists originally thought that low oxygen levels were to blame, but additional investigations will be conducted to determine if K. brevis is the cause. In addition, fishermen reported seeing dead fish and experiencing symptoms of aerosols (e.g., coughing) 4 miles offshore of Galveston.

On Sunday, August 12, the Texas Department of State Health Services found varying levels of K. brevis in their sampling and subsequently closed the following areas to molluscan shellfish harvesting: Conditionally Approved Area 1 of Galveston Bay, the Central and East Approved Areas of Galveston Bay and the Smith Point Approved Area of Galveston Bay.

TPWD and DSHS are working hard to investigate this event. Weather permitting, TPWD hopes to conduct a coastal overflight later this week to get an aerial view of the bloom.

Sightings of dead fish or suspected red tide can be reported 24 hours a day to TPWD’s communication centers, 512-389-4848 (Austin) or 281-842-8100 (La Porte).

August 13, 2012

The Texas Department of State Health Services has confirmed a bloom of Karenia brevis, also known as red tide, in Galveston Bay. TPWD has received reports of fish kills from Sea Rim State Park, Sargent Beach and Surfside. Information is still being gathered and subsequent updates will be posted accordingly.


Additional Information:

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Department of State Health Services investigate reports of possible red tide along the coast and in the bays.

Three common signs of a red tide bloom are:

  • discolored water
  • dead fish
  • breathing difficulty.

From the Centers for Disease Control:
The human health effects associated with eating brevetoxin-tainted shellfish are well documented. However, scientists know little about how other types of environmental exposures to brevetoxin—such as breathing the air near red tides or swimming in red tides—may affect humans. Anecdotal evidence suggests that people who swim among brevetoxins or inhale brevetoxins dispersed in the air may experience irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, as well as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Additional evidence suggests that people with existing respiratory illness, such as asthma, may experience these symptoms more severely.

To report sightings of red tide during normal business hours, call your local TPWD office or Meridith Byrd at 361-983-1215. Outside of normal business hours you may call TPWD's 24-hour communications centers at 512-389-4848 (Austin) or 281-842-8100 (Houston.)

Although some travelers may be concerned with how the red tide may affect their vacation plans, there are miles of clean beaches to enjoy on the Texas coast. When making travel plans, heed the advice of the Texas Department of State Health Services : get the current facts and draw your own conclusions.

For more information about red tide and the latest updates, call the TPWD hotline at (800) 792-1112, select fishing, then select red tide.

Current information about shellfish closures can be obtained by contacting the Seafood Safety Division of the Texas Department of State Health Services at (800) 685-0361. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Department of State Health Services investigate reports of possible red tide along the coast and in the bays.

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