Remediation and Prevention of Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) in Ascarate Lake at El Paso, Texas

Elizabeth Herrera Ortega, University of Texas at El Paso


Ascarate Park in El Paso, Texas is an example of an urban ecosystem in the middle of a growing city. It is the largest public-use recreational park in El Paso county and it includes a 48-acre Ascarate Lake. The purpose of this study was to prevent harmful algae growth in Ascarate Lake using phytoremediation by analyzing different water quality parameters. We installed artificial islands on west cove of the lake with African iris plants to determine the feasibility of remediation to prevent algae blooms in Ascarate Lake. Water samples were collected at different points close and away from the islands and tested for dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, chlorophyll-a, nutrients and other parameters. Aerial photographs were captured from the lake to evaluate its use for observing harmful algae blooms. Results show that temperature plays a key role when analyzing water conditions for algae growth. The use of artificial islands showed that overall nitrate levels were slightly reduced closest to the islands regardless of the season. Therefore, phytoremediation can be a viable way to prevent algal bloom in Ascarate Lake, but more artificial islands are needed to reduce the overall levels of nutrients and prevent algae growth that could affect aquatic life.

Subject Area

Environmental engineering|Engineering

Recommended Citation

Herrera Ortega, Elizabeth, "Remediation and Prevention of Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) in Ascarate Lake at El Paso, Texas" (2020). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI28000042.