Click here to help the Salvation Army this Holiday Season

Hundreds of Fish in Rancho Murieta Lake Killed After Algae Treatment Attempt

RANCHO MURIETA — Hundreds of fish were killed Saturday in a Rancho Murieta lake after an attempt to treat algae blooms.

“My son and I, I have a 4-year-old son, we use the lake quite a bit,” said Brian Donnalley, a Rancho Murieta resident.

The lake is one of the reasons Donnalley moved his family to Rancho Murieta.

“Fishing, just walking around it, just hanging out having a good time,” Donnalley said.

But Saturday, he and his son started to notice several hundred dead fish in the lake.

“What is going on here, I mean, you could look across the water and see all these white bellies floating up,” Donnalley said.

The Rancho Murieta Community Services District says a chemical it has used before to treat algae blooms for some reason had a devastating impact on the fish.

At a meeting Wednesday, dozens of residents complained about the mishap and the overall poor state of the lake.

“I’m curious as to the level of expertise that was used to make the decision to use that particular chemical,” one resident said at the meeting.

The answer to that question is one the board said it’s still looking into.

Residents feel lower than usual water levels contributed to the fish deaths.

“They were back out here on Sunday as well, collecting fish,” Donnalley said.

Donnalley says it was especially difficult for his son.

“It was hard to explain it to him, that ‘hey, I don’t know what’s going on buddy, we’re going to have to figure this out,'” Donnalley said.

Neighbors say they’re also concerned about the birds that swim and fish in the lake.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the organization behind the algae treatment as the Rancho Murieta Homeowners Association. It was the Rancho Murieta Community Services District.