At the end of a closed boat ramp on Canyon Lake, the shallow water is covered in a layer of thick green weeds.
Hydrilla is thriving this summer with low water levels and months of extreme heat.
The invasive plant species has been in Texas for decades, said Patrick Ireland, district supervisor for the inland fisheries division of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
“It flares up during drought periods, and we have a pretty long history of managing it in the state,” Ireland said.
Agencies have at least three options when it comes to managing the plant.
EPA-approved chemicals can treat the invasive species.
TPWD used these treatments around the public fishing piers, docks, and boat ramp #10 in the Cranes Mill area in the summer of 2021.
Mechanical methods chop up the hydrilla, but the machines are slow and tend to fragment the plant material and spread it around.
The third option is to introduce grass carp, as the state has done in Lake Austin and Lake Conroe.
The fish will eat the hydrilla and help eradicate the plants.
“That’s a last-resort, all-or-nothing option,” Ireland said. “The carp are expensive and they can denude the whole reservoir of all plants. Then you open up a Pandora’s Box of sorts, where the fish enter the river and can potentially destroy all kinds of submersed aquatic habitat.”