lake austin

Mose Buchele/KUT

In the past, hydrilla carpeted whole swaths of Lake Austin. The invasive plant ruined recreation and damaged ecosystems on the lake. So to counteract that, the City of Austin occasionally introduced tens of thousands of sterilized grass carp to eat the hydrilla. But the city is now on the lookout for unintended consequences.

You’ve got to hand it to the grass carp: They did their job swimmingly. There’s no hydrilla problem in the lake right now, but there is concern the thousands of hungry fish have turned their attention to native plant species, and even other fish.

“Yeah, some of the anglers have talked about while they’re off fishing that they’re actually able to catch grass carp on crank baits. So, that’s what really got their hackles up,” says Dr. Brent Bellinger, an environmental scientist with the Watershed Protection Department. “Well, if they’re going after something that looks like shad on crank baits, they might be going after shad in general.”

Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT News

While you're remembering the social and economic achievements of American workers this weekend, some things to keep in mind:

There are undoubtedly other rules to follow to ensure personal safety, effective human relationships and good-old-fashioned-holiday-fun, but here are two to keep in mind:

1. No Personal Watercraft on Lake Austin

If your idea of fun is running fast and free on your jetski or "personal watercraft," then stay away from Lake Austin this weekend.  As in previous years, there's a ban in effect.  It's from sunset Friday until sunrise Tuesday.

Photo courtesy jdearingdavis on flickr at

Officials in Oklahoma have closed some of the state's lakes because of blue-green algae outbreaks. The fast growth of already-present algae, paired with high temperatures and still water, pose serious risk to swimmers.

Image courtesy City of Austin Watershed Protection Department

Lake Austin is getting lower.  The Lower Colorado River Authority is drawing down the lake's level so that City of Austin crews can do battle with hydrilla, an invasive water plant that clogs the lake. 

Lake Austin at 360 Bridge
Image courtesy atmtx

Annoying, non-native plants are growing out of control in Lake Austin, and the city is asking the Lower Colorado River Authority to drop lake levels next month to help fend them off. Lake Austin is a stretch of the Colorado River between the Mansfield and Tom Miller dams.