Hydrilla Covers More Than 40 Percent Of Lake, Limiting Recreation

Some residents on Lake Tyler East say they're getting ready for a fight over the future of their lake. The water-weed hydrilla has almost taken over. The city contends the primary function of Lake Tyler East is for water supply, but homeowners tell us that's all it will be if the hydrilla chases everyone, including tourists away.

For Freddie Tomlinson, the lake is getting so much smaller. And it's not from the drought, but from the alien weed that's everywhere. Hydrilla an asian water plant, takes root and thrives.

"That's just one sweep, that tells you it's all over the place," as Tomlinson rakes out a huge amount of hydrilla from a point near the center of the lake.

It entangles boats, and sometimes swimmers.

"I guess if you were to jump in the middle of your Christmas tree that's what it would feel like," he says.

"This stuff you get into here, you get into it and it doesn't stop. No, the root system is deep."

The City of Tyler controls the lake, and it's a primary water source.

The Water Utilities director says hydrilla is of no consequence to water supply, but they were hoping for a cold snap to kill some of it.

"We gave it this winter to see if we had some improvement," says driector Greg Morgan.

Long term control may have to come from the Triploid Grass Carp, a voracious hydrilla eater.

"Last year, we were looking at over $800,000 to solve the problem," Morgan adds.

He says homeowners will have to pick up some of the cost of hydrilla eradication.

Tomlinson says they're determined to get some solution, before they lose the lake they love.

"By the middle of june, it's going to be out in the middle of the lake, and this whole cove will be impassable," he says.

Even if grass carp are released, it will likely be several years before the situation dramatically improves, and since they're a foreign fish, there must be barriers to keep them from going over Lake Tyler's spillway in a flood.

Last year, we reported about the hydrilla problem at Lake Jacksonville. The plan is to release about 500 grass carp there by the end of the month.