UPDATE: June 20, 2023
UPDATE: May 5, 2023
UPDATE: February 16, 2023 – Report from Alex Combs to Love Lake Hawkins Association Facebook page…
The Lake Hawkins Vegetation Committee wanted to provide an update to all. We have continued to meet frequently to drive engagement and treatment of the vegetation issue on Lake Hawkins. The TPWD has been an incredible partner in this effort and will be treating the lake in late March/early April per the below proposed treatment plan. Treatment of individual docks and waterfront will be the responsibility of the property owners. As the vegetation type varies across the lake, the most effective treatment options for each waterfront access may be different and require different management approaches. The website provided in the attached meeting minutes may be used to identify the type of vegetation and best treatment option. TPWD recommends waiting until after their treatment to treat individual waterfronts. This will allow you to assess the impacts and residual benefits from their treatment. Each owner or group of property owners/neighbors should complete a treatment proposal (screenshot below) so that the aggregate treatment across the lake may be tracked and monitored for effectiveness.
UPDATE: November 10, 2022 – September’s survey by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) showed 41% vegetation coverage. 40% is the trigger required for them to take action. They will begin working on a plan and coordinating with the volunteers on the Lake Hawkins Vegetation committee. More detail later this month.
July 26, 2022 – There was standing room only at Red Rooster on Monday night as Jacob Norman from Texas Parks and Wildlife met with Lake Hawkins residents concerned with the lake’s vegetation issue.
Mr. Norman presented a slideshow (links at the end of this article) that included graphics from the 2020 and 2021 surveys which showed 29% vegetation coverage for the lake. TPWD takes no action until coverage reaches 40%. Unfortunately, Mr. Norman has not yet surveyed the lake this year and residents are confident that the 40% level has been reached. The 2022 survey should take place at the end of August or the beginning of September.
Primary methods for dealing with the vegetation are
- Water Level Manipulation
The mechanical approach typically involves raking out weeds with anything from hand tools to heavy equipment. Of course, raking by hand addresses only a resident’s dock, at best, and does nothing for the open areas where boats and skiers spend time. Even those who, last year, paid for pro-level weed removal service using heavy equipment reported that it was a temporary fix and the weeds are back with a vengeance this year.
The biological method includes introducing grass carp. Even though grass carp were used successfully in the past, Mr. Norman does not think they are the solution this time around. When grass carp were introduced in 2006, 2011, and 2014, the lake was dealing with invasive hydrilla which is the carp’s favorite food. Eurasian Watermilfoil is the primary concern now and carp tend to eat everything else before going for milfoil.
The chemical approach—using water-approved herbicides—seemed to be the method that Mr. Norman considered most practical. That involved each property owner getting a permit and then paying $400-$1000 for an herbicide application limited to an approximate area of 75′ x 75′.
The general consensus among residents was to wait until the August/September survey at which point they are convinced that the crucial threshold of 40% vegetation coverage will have been reached, giving the TPWD the green light for a lake-wide strategy.
In the meantime, lake residents will be forming a committee so that a few key people can serve as a conduit between residents and Mr. Norman. It was suggested that at least one resident be present during the vegetation survey on behalf of residents to be sure the TPWD is aware of areas of the lake that are especially overwhelmed or of special concern.