Marin looks to avoid another fish kill at Civic Center Lagoon

Following an algal bloom that suffocated and killed more than 100 fish at the Marin County Civic Center lagoon two years ago, county parks staff say they have made changes to help prevent further die-offs.

From fixing water features that supply new oxygen to the lagoon to better timing invasive plant removal, parks crews aim to avoid water conditions similar to those that caused the deadly algal bloom in August 2020.

“It does occur in areas of freshwater that are shallow and warm with potential algae blooms,” said Ari Golan, county parks and open space superintendent. “Here at this lagoon, that was the first time that most folks have seen or remember seeing it.”

But the incident has prompted groups such as the Gallinas Watershed Council to call on the county to further revamp the lagoon in a way that it says would better align with what architect Frank Lloyd Wright intended when he designed the Civic Center in the late 1960s. Some ideas include installing more floating islands to filter out pollutants that can lead to algal blooms.

“We’d like to see it as beautiful, healthy and a good habitat year-round,” said council co-founder and secretary Judy Schriebman, who is also the president of the Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District board. “And we think that is keeping with the Frank Lloyd Wright vision, that nature is truly integrated with the building, the architecture, and the community.”

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Floating Islands - Civic Center Lagoon