Town Lake... Lady Bird Lake... the Colorado River. Whatever you call it, Austin wouldn't be the same without the scenic body of water separating North and South Austin.
This blog was updated in May 2019.
Highly destructive zebra mussels have invaded many popular Central Texas waters, and Austin’s local creeks and Barton Springs Pool are now at risk. Zebra mussels destroy local aquatic ecosystems and hurt visitors (including cutting people’s feet and dogs’ paws). In Barton Springs Pool, an infestation also would likely significantly increase maintenance costs.
The shoreline of Lady Bird Lake is home to an amazing array of plants and birds, as well as plenty of turtles, and even a few nutrias. Unfortunately, one non-native nuisance plant has set up shop around the lake and seems to be crowding everything else out.
Summary: Austin needs more pollinators and you can help by taking the pollinator challenge and planting pollinator treats!
Shorelines are a very important part of the lake ecosystem. Poor biological health is three times more likely in lakes with poor lakeshore habitat, according to the EPA.
As rain runs off our rooftops and streets, it drains down into the stormdrains and is directed to the streams. This rush of water swells the stream which can then overtop the banks of the stream channel and flow into the riparian zone. The roots of the vegetation along the channel and banks help hold the soil in place and prevent erosion. As large volumes of water inundate the perennial plants and grasses, the weaker plants bend over and blanket the soil.
In aquatic systems, an important component of the ecosystem is the type and abundance of “habitat” present. Habitat, also referred to as “structure”, are things such as submerged aquatic plants, emergent aquatic plants and floating periphyton, overhanging trees, and large woody debris. These components provide the materials, surfaces, and niches upon which algae and microorganisms colonize, insects can feed and breed, and small and large fish can spawn, feed, hunt, and hide. Together, habitat supports, diversifies, and enhances the food web of aquatic systems.