Eurasian watermilfoil. Photo by Robert L. Johnson, Cornell University, Bugwood.org
The Lower Colorado River Authority is offering rebates of up to 50 percent of the cost — $12,500 maximum — of managing Eurasian watermilfoil on Lake LBJ and Inks Lake. Removal projects must be conducted between June 1 and Aug. 31, 2023.
The LCRA has allotted $100,000 for the rebates to assist cities, counties, and homeowners/property owners associations in the removal of the invasive plant.
“We want to assist local groups in managing milfoil in their areas of the lakes,” said John Hofmann, LCRA executive vice president of water. “Milfoil doesn’t pose a public health hazard, but it can cause issues for boaters and swimmers because it can form large mats on the surface of the water.”
Rebates will be issued after the application deadline and might be less than 50 percent of the project’s cost, depending on the total number of applications submitted and rebate amounts requested.
Milfoil and a similar plant, hydrilla, are non-native water plants that can crowd out native plants, clog personal watercraft intakes, become entangled in boat propellers, and make fishing from the shoreline and docks difficult. They spread rapidly if not properly managed, which includes avoiding herbicides. (The plants are featured in the July issue of The Picayune Magazine.)
“The best course of action is to physically remove the milfoil to keep chemicals out of the waterway and reduce the opportunity for plant fragments to spread due to boating traffic,” Hofmann said. “Responsibly removing milfoil, and keeping fertilizers, grass clippings, and leaf litter out of the lakes, provides a sustainable and long-term benefit to the lakes.”
To qualify for a rebate, an applicant must:
Be a lakeside property owners association or homeowners association or a government (city/county, etc.) entity.
Conduct milfoil management on Lake LBJ or Inks Lake between June 1 and Aug. 31, 2023. Any herbicide must be applied by a licensed aquatic herbicide applicator.
Submit an application, itemized receipt of the work, and proof of TPWD approval of the treatment plan to the LCRA by Sept. 1, 2023.
If an herbicide is used, the applicator and/or applicant must provide notice to all public water intakes within a 2-mile radius and others at least 14 days in advance. See the application for a full list of required notifications.