For several years, hydrilla has covered less than 80 acres of Lake Austin. During 2011, hydrilla began to increase. As of April, it had reached a historic high of over 560 acres, according to a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) vegetation survey.
This increase is likely due to the ongoing drought, which has created conditions favorable to hydrilla over other aquatic vegetation. In particular, much warmer water is flowing into Lake Austin from drought-stricken Lake Travis, and hydrilla prefers warmer temperatures. Releases from Lake Travis for downstream irrigation have also decreased this year. This limits the water flowing through Lake Austin, which also contributes to the growth of hydrilla. Over 30,000 sterile Asian grass carp have been periodically stocked in Lake Austin since 2003 (13,000 fish stocked in 2011 alone) as a critical component of the integrated hydrilla management plan. The current stocking is part of a larger effort approved by TPWD, and more fish will be stocked in the next few weeks by the Lower Colorado River Authority and the citizen group, Friends of Lake Austin.
When: 8:30 a.m., Wednesday, June 20, 2012. Please note the carp will be released into Lake Austin promptly at 8:30 a.m.
Where: Mary Quinlan Park on Lake Austin. The park is located at the end of Quinlan Park Road off Hwy 620 west of FM 2222.