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Fighting Hydrilla in Lake Eufaula

By: Erica Proffer Email
By: Erica Proffer Email

In some areas of Lake Eufaula officials say it's dangerous for boaters. That's because hydrilla, a water infestation, has taken over, and if it gets caught in your prop it could tear up your boat.

"The hydrilla normally, in lower density, it's good for fishing, but then when it gets matted it gets so think the fish can't survivor, boats can't maneuver through it, it will hurt the motor, cut off the water pump," says Richard Johns, site manager.

Hydrilla was first discovered in Lake Eufaula in 1991. It was treated with chemicals that blocked the lake "weed" from soaking in sunlight, but in 2006 the problem escalated.

The U.S. Army Corps noted 30 percent of the lake was infested, and that's when the Corps looked to put sterile grass carp in the lake.

"I think it's a wonderful thing. The hydrilla gets really bad, it catches the boats propeller. In the shallow water it's really hard to fish," says Lake Eufaula fisherman Lee Elrod.

Even though they've used chemicals, it won't harm the carp as they try to control the infestation.

"We'll continue to use the chemical. The chemical, more or less, affects the plant's ability to absorb the sunlight. It's not poison like killing a weed in your yard," says Johns.

Officials say the sterile grass carp will stay ahead of the hydrilla, and although it will never completely get rid of the infestation, officials say it will help manage the invasive plant.

About 8,000 triploid grass carp were released into Lake Eufaula. Officials say it will take about two years for the hydrilla problem to be brought under control.


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