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Locals flock to marina despite fish casualties
by Garrett E. Valenzuela
Jan 20, 2014 | 1136 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Makiah Villa, left, and Brayden Tresley show off the crab claws they found at the Sparks Marina while scouring the beach Monday afternoon, looking for any of thousands of dead fish caused by low oxygen levels in the water over the past month.
Makiah Villa, left, and Brayden Tresley show off the crab claws they found at the Sparks Marina while scouring the beach Monday afternoon, looking for any of thousands of dead fish caused by low oxygen levels in the water over the past month.
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Although many Sparks citizens were aware that about 100,000 fish at the Sparks Marina had died due to low oxygen levels in the water, the Sparks park was filled Monday afternoon with people looking for exercise or just a day out in the relatively warm January sun.

One complaint came from a woman on the paved walking path, who said she “would never allow her kids to swim” in the water and she hesitates to let her dog in it as well. However, the fenced portion of the park on the south peninsula was still packed Monday with canines racing into the water.

On the main swimming beach children sprinted through the sand, chasing the ducks who had walked up on shore. Sparks resident Dan Tresley said he was surprised to hear about the thousands of fish dying off, but said it was not much of a concern for he and his 5-year-old son Brayden.

“I didn’t really have a reaction other than being surprised at the amount of fish that were killed,” Dan said from the shore of the popular swimming beach. “We actually came down here to walk the beach and see if we could find any of the dead fish.”

Brayden said he was happy to be at the marina on his day off from school so he could enjoy his favorite part, the ducks. Dan said hearing about the problems with the water composition did not change his perception of the Sparks Marina.

“No, not at all,” he said. “I don’t really think of it any differently. I do hope they figure out the problem with the water so they can get fish back in there because we love fishing out here.”

Another Sparks resident LJ Villa said he and his son Makiah, 4, have spent ample time alongside the banks of the Sparks Marina fishing — Makiah’s favorite activity at the park. LJ said the marina’s appeal may have changed to some after the fish incident, but not in his mind.

“I was really surprised because there used to be some really good fishing up here,” he said. “I think that will be the only thing that will change for us until they get that problem solved. It’s still nice to come and walk along the beach and the kids love it out here. It’s still a great park.”

Water samples from the Sparks Marina are still being tested at the Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility, but City of Sparks officials said Friday the water was safe for animals and humans. The Associated Press reported Sunday that University of Nevada, Reno Limnologist Sudeep Chandra, who has researched Lake Tahoe extensively, said low oxygen levels were likely the cause of the fishery’s demise.

“I really don’t think it is other contaminants, it’s just the low oxygen,” Chandra said in the AP’s report.

Sparks Parks and Recreation officials said test results would come back within a few weeks, at which point the city will determine its course of action regarding aquatic life at the marina. Parks and Rec. Director Tracy Domingues said Friday that until the results are in, city programming, designated fishing areas and various forms of recreation at the Sparks Marina will continue.
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