Proposed Bill Would Tackle Hydrilla Problem

Those who live on area lakes are all too familiar with the hydrilla problem. The submersed plant spreads quickly creating hazards for area boaters and swimmers.

A new bill introduced in the state senate by Robert Nichols would earmark money for the state to address the problem. KLTV 7's Lindsay Wilcox reports on what it could mean for East Texas.

When John Childress and his family moved to their Lake Tyler home ten and a half years ago, it was so they could enjoy life on the water.  "Fishing and the water sports;  kids and grand kids get to fish and ski and all those things," said Childress.

For several years, they did just that. Then, in 2003, they noticed the hydrilla started popping up, and it's been growing out of control ever since.  "Then, of course, this last summer, the lake was just not usable at all because of the hydrilla, and of course, the low water contributed to that also," said Childress.

A new bill has been introduced in the senate that would earmark money from a motorboat fuel tax.  The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department could use that money to tackle the hydrilla on state lakes, making them not only more enjoyable, but safer, too.

Last summer, a 32-year-old man died on Lake Jacksonville after family members say he got caught up in hydrilla trying to retrieve a ball. The hydrilla posed a challenge to rescuers who found themselves caught up in the plant, too.

Chris Green with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said, "Divers, you know, they were hung up with their equipment, our drag hooks and equipment we use to retrieve persons, it was next to impossible to retrieve him."

Green says something needs to be done about the hydrilla problem on Texas lakes quickly. He says the longer it goes untreated, the more difficult the challenge becomes.  "We're not going to be able to beat it back and kill it where it doesn't exist anymore.  We want to manage it. We want to beat it back and control it," said Green.

John Childress hopes the problem will be taken care of so he and his family can get back out on the water.

Lindsay Wilcox, Reporting.