Fish found dead along San Antonio River, Texas coast after freezing weather event

San Antonio River Authority is asking people to report dead fish sightings

SAN ANTONIO – Subfreezing temperatures in San Antonio and the surrounding area last week devastated wildlife both on land and in water.

The San Antonio River Authority said dead fish can be seen along the waterway in the aftermath of the winter storm, which kept the city in the 10s and 20s for much of last week.

SARA officials said non-native fish like blue tilapia and Plecostomus (suckermouth catfish) are typically not able to survive when water temperatures dip below 50 degrees.

The Environmental Sciences Department is continuing to monitor the sightings, and officials said the dead fish are not caused by poor water quality.

Native fish may have also been impacted, officials said. Anyone who spots dead fish along the river is asked to contact the River Authority’s Environmental Investigations team online or by calling 866-345-7272.

Saltwater fish, though, may have been more gravely impacted than freshwater fish.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said fish on the Texas coast first started dying off on Feb. 14.

While the full impact of the weather event is unknown, TPWD officials said fish kills were reported largely in Galveston Bay. Fish kills were also reported in Aransas Bay, Corpus Christi Bay, Upper Laguna Madre and Lower Laguna Madre.

Among the fish species impacted were spotted seatrout, red drum, sheepshead, grey snapper, snook, black drum and tarpon.

Just before the freeze, TPWD closed fishing on the Texas coast that could have further impacted wildlife.

Also this week, the Southern Refuge Rehab said hundreds of Mexican Free-tailed Bats were discovered dead under bridges in San Antonio.

Michelle Una Camara, Southern Refuge Rehab’s owner and president, said some bats froze to death while others died after falling from bridges.

Other wildlife species impacted by the storm include axis deer, blackbuck, nilgai antelope and multiple bird species, according to TPWD.

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Rebecca Salinas has worked in digital news for more than 10 years and joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.