Naked City

Hydrilla

Naked City
Illustration By Robert Faires

The Lower Colorado River Authority has signed off on an "integrated pest management" plan to tame the hydrilla scourge in Lake Austin. The noxious, fast-growing Asian water weed, imported to the U.S. for use in aquariums, is now invading waterways throughout the South, covers more than 300 acres of Lake Austin, and has been blamed for at least one Austin death. The LCRA plan includes lowering lake levels (which everyone supports), using EPA-approved herbicides (which enviros don't like), mechanical harvesting (which the LCRA isn't crazy about), and introducing sterile grass carp to munch on the tasty weed (which fishermen despise, fearing the carp will eat all the vegetation in the lake). Lake Austin supplies both drinking water to Austin and electricity to LCRA customers, and the river authority is afraid that uncontrolled hydrilla growth will spread throughout the Colorado River basin.

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