AUSTIN – If you’ve happened by Lady Bird Lake recently you may have noticed more green and brown gunk floating in the water and wondered what it was.
While many people assume it’s the invasive weed Hydrilla, biologists say it’s actually Fanwort, also known by its scientific name as Cabomba, a native species of plant found in Barton Springs.
“It's gotten pretty thick. I mean it's gotten to the point to where my buddy says you can't even get back up into Barton Springs,” said Dallas Harding, a bass fisherman who is a regular at Lady Bird Lake.
Mary Gilroy, an aquatic biologist with the Austin Watershed Protection Department, says one reason we’re seeing more of a build up of Cabomba is because the Lower Colorado River Authority (L.C.R.A.) is releasing much less water downstream to rice farmers.
Gilroy says the native plant makes for a healthy lake ecology.
“These are native plants. We want them to be in the lake. We just want to be able to come up with a balance so the folks that use the lake can still have an open channel and then there's enough plants in the lake to keep the lake clean,” said Gilroy.
The Watershed Protection Department is currently working with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department to find a private firm to remove some of the floating vegetation for the sake of keeping a balance for nature and for water lovers.