Severe Drought Drying Up Playa Lakes

Published 03/24 2014 08:13PM

Updated 03/24 2014 08:18PM

By Michaela MacDonald


This severe drought we're in is really taking its toll on Lubbock's playa lakes and the wildlife that rely on the water to live. Some of the lakes are so empty; residents are taking matters into their own hands.


“I drive by this park pretty often, and I saw the drought and figured with little puddles of water there's probably some fish swimming around and sure enough there was,” said Lubbock resident Justin Murphy.


On Monday, Murphy set out to save what fish are left in this playa lake.


“I'm going to try to catch some of the smaller catfish that are pinky sized and maybe put them in a freshwater aquarium and maybe see how they do,” he said.


You can clearly see where the water used to be now this playa lake is just a few puddles.


“We've gotten more than quite a few concerned calls over the last few weeks,” Gail Barnes with the South Plains Wildlife Rehab Center.


Barnes says they've noticed it too.


“People that walk around the playas have seen fish that are out of water and flopping, they've seen turtles that don’t have enough water,” said Barnes.


Barnes says unfortunately they don’t have the resources to offer a relocation service. We called Parks and Recreation and they say there's nothing they can do either, these lakes are completely dependent on rain.


“If you have a question call your representative, call the mayor, see what can be done to help resolve the situation and of course you know we'll be glad to assist with anything but we are not a relocation service,” said Barnes.


Murphy is moving as many of the fish as he can from this lake, but he says there are still more out there.


“There's still quite a few fish out here, and there not going to be here much longer with this drought the way it is,” said Murphy. “I found a couple baby channel catfish. I mean all I can say is if anyone has time and they want to grab a couple buckets come get these fish and dump them in the play lakes maybe save a few hundred fish that's left other than that I mean they're not going to make it.”


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