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Drought Causing Domino Effect on Fish and Wildlife

Problems from the drought continue plaguing Texoma as lake levels continue to dwindle from lack of rain.

Problems from the drought continue plaguing Texoma as lake levels continue to dwindle from lack of  rain.
And while most of the attention focuses on what that means for people who depend on that water, it is also having a devastating impact on wildlife, especially water fowl that call the lakes home at different parts of the year.
Mechell Dixon joins us now with more.

More than half a dozen area lakes are a sad sight to see.
They're extremely low on water or have turned into dust bowls because they have no water at all.
And that is why some area lakes that once thrived are now considered "dead" by Texas Parks and Wildlife.
And state officials say the death of those lakes is causing a deadly domino effect as every drop continues to count.

This was Lake Wichita several years ago when high water levels made it a popular draw for water recreation.
This is what is looked like this spring and this is the lake now.
The drought caused it to shrink from around 1,200 to 200.
So, Texas Parks and Wildlife officials have declared it dead, meaning, the water level is so low it lacks enough oxygen for fish to survive or the water has completely dried up, which officials say has happened at Archer City Lake and Middle Lake in Iowa Park.
Overall, Texas Parks and Wildlife officials classify eight area lakes as "dead."

"And we have several lakes that we're quite concerned about this summer that are knocking on the door of being there too," says Thomas Lang, district fisheries supervisor with Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Parks and wildlife officials say the dead lakes are putting migratory birds in a serious bind.

"They'll try and find different paths and different routes to survive but sometime you're gonna have birds that simply don't have the energy reserves to make it on another path," Lang adds.

Birds in jeopardy and fish dying off are both consequences of the drought.
And parks and wildlife officials say unfortunately, they are helpless at stopping it.

"We work out tails off to help provide an excellent outdoor recreation experience to the public but also to make our God-given natural resources and to try and provide the best fishing and hunting in the country in this state and when you pour your heart and soul into these things and you see the drought just simply kill them off, it is definitely heartbreaking," Lang says.


Heartbreaking, but not hopeless.
Lang says once the rain comes the lakes will refill allowing Texas Parks and Wildlife crews to restock them with fish and plan aquatic plants.
So, the waiting game continues until our area receives enough rain to ease the drought.
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