AUSTIN (KXAN) — What is growing along the side of Lady Bird Lake?

You might have seen the plant growing over the summer, slowly creeping closer to the center of the lake. You can see it the best under the Lamar bridge.

According to a spokesperson with the City of Austin Watershed Protection Department, the vegetation in Lady Bird Lake near the Bridge is a native perennial, Cabomba Caroliniana, which is also known as fanwort.

The city said native aquatic plants are important for cleaning pollutants out of water and providing habitat for fish and other aquatic life.

Are there any efforts to remove the plant?

Cabomba is part of a healthy ecosystem. The city said it has no plans to remove the plant.

Toxic blue-green algae update

Since 2019, the City has discovered toxic blue-green algae in local waterways, resulting in the deaths of several dogs who played in and ingested it.

This year, the City plans to spend roughly $300,000 on treatment and testing of the toxic algae, using phoslock to cut off nutrients to the algae and keep it from spreading.

Austin officials said Watershed Protection put Phoslock in 22 acres of Lady Bird Lake near Red Bud Isle last year and found that it reduced phosphorus by 40%.

Swimming in Lady Bird Lake

The lake has been off-limits to swimmers since 1964.

Why did they ban swimming? Liz Johnston, the city’s deputy environmental officer in the Watershed Protection Department, said the ban began after several drownings on the Colorado River and the lake.

Pollution is not the primary reason and would not be a reason today to prohibit swimming, Johnston said.

Check back later for more information.