Austin says goodbye to hydrilla, some boaters miss it

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by HEATHER KOVAR / KVUE News

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherK_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on October 27, 2013 at 10:48 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 28 at 8:03 AM

AUSTIN -- A Texas Parks and Wildlife Department survey says hydrilla is under control in Lake Austin.

Boaters out Sunday said they noticed it's gone. Some say good riddance, but others say they miss the plant.

"Bait fish held in there reproduce. In turn the big fish come, so we always like to fish it," said Richard Edwards.

He also attributes a murkier lake to less hydrilla.

"Last year you could see the bottom in 15 feet of water. This year you can't see the bottom in 15 inches," Edwards said.

Mary Gilroy is an environmental scientist who went out on the survey.

"Since 2011, we've been increasing the number of grass carp that we have in the lake," Gilroy said.

In all about 30,000 sterile carp have been introduced; 9,000 this summer alone. Gilroy says they don't eat milfoil, another aquatic vegetation, and that should help clarity.

Several people say they think the hydrilla is worse at Lady Bird Lake. However the City says most of what people see and think is hydrilla is cabomba or fanwort, and say it's good for the ecosystem.

Last month KVUE told you some businesses on Lady Bird paid to have some removed. Water bikes kept getting stuck. Recreation on Lake Austin is one reason they're going to continue work to keep hydrilla at bay.

"It can also be a incredible public safety problem in terms of anybody who tries to swim through this dense plant. Yhey can grow as thick as a  bale of hay," said Gilroy.

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