AUSTIN (KXAN) — At almost any time of day, you can spot a lot of people at or around Lady Bird Lake, but what kind of impact are they having on the water and environment?
On Monday, the City of Austin’s Park and Recreation Department discussed the results of a new study done by Huston-Tillotson University which looked at how congestion and other factors impact Lady Bird Lake and the surrounding areas.
Michael Parish has been enjoying Lady Bird Lake since the 1970s. He doesn’t believe there is overcrowding, but he does see a lot of trash.
“It is miserable,” Parish said. “I don’t know what they are going to do, but there is a lot more trash.”
“Pollution and trash definitely came up very high on the list of user concerns,” Amanda Masino said.
Masino, who has a Ph.D. in Genetics and Developmental Biology, said the study looked at parking, environmental impacts and congestion on the lake as well.
“How many people, how much activity can you have on the water before you start seeing negative impacts,” Masino said.
The survey was done over the summer and found that holidays and weekends were the most congested, especially where Barton Creek feeds into Lady Bird Lake.
“Hopefully this can be used for any kind of plan to reduce congestion,” said Masino. “Maybe that is developing amenities outside of this critical zone.”
Masino said some people have changed daily routines to beat the crowds.
“We had 58% to 60% of people between trail and water say that the amount of crowding interfered with their enjoyment of the lake,” Masino said.
Masino said she hopes to conduct more studies in the future.