SAMLARC Managing Fish Viability Conditions in Lago Santa Margarita

On Sunday, November 1, 2020, several small fish in the Lake were displaying signs of stress in the deeper areas of the water. While a wide variety of factors could have contributed to this behavior, the Board of Directors, SAMLARC’s Management Company (FirstService Residential), and SAMLARC’s professional lake service provider (Lake Management, Inc.) rapidly coordinated a plan to determine the cause and mitigate the number of fish affected. Thanks to the Active Lake Management Program approved by the Board of Directors in 2019, SAMLARC Management was able to quickly assess the commonalities in fish affected, locate the primary area of distress in the Lake, obtain water samples for scientific evaluation, and prevent further complications to the water chemistry. At this time, the cause of the “fish kill” (affecting approximately 400 fish as of Monday morning) has not been officially determined. However, the initial assessment of the Lake conditions implies that a change in the water chemistry due to an increased level of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) from debris spread by the local fires and Santa Ana winds may be the cause of the fish distress, as well as a drop in water temperature. Additional testing was conducted today to determine if Golden Algae could have been the cause as well. Results of the Golden Algae test will be known tomorrow, Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

The Lago Santa Margarita is the jewel of the SAMLARC community. The Board of Directors and the Lago Santa Margarita Committee are committed to maintaining the Lake’s ecosystem and viability as a fishery. SAMLARC Management, the Board of Directors, and the Lago Santa Margarita Committee will continue to closely monitor the Lake’s environment and determine response measures.

For questions, please contact George Blair, SAMLARC Assistant General Manager, at