Provo is moving to recapture the city-owned East Bay Golf Course from the muskrats and the lake.

"We're losing feet of golf course," Director of Parks and Recreation LeRoy Dennis said during the Provo City Council study meeting Tuesday. "Muskrats come in from the lake by the hundreds."As the muskrats burrow into the soil near the edge of the lake, the land quickly erodes away into the water. The result is the lakes throughout the golf course are getting larger and the land area smaller.

"We'd like to go back to the original design of a high-handicap golf course," Dennis said. The plan is to fill in some areas of water "where we're losing a lot of golf balls."

Safety is also a problem, said Dennis. There is no longer enough buffer zone between holes four and five. Golfers trying to avoid the expanding lake hit the balls too much toward golfers playing another hole.

Mayor Joe Jenkins estimates that it will take $320,000 to repair and prevent further damage for the first nine holes of the 18-hole championship course. "It's a lot," said Jenkins, "but we don't have a choice."

The plans for correcting the problem include laying keystone where the land meets the water all along the front of the course for the first nine holes. "The keystone is very attractive," said Dennis, adding it will stop the muskrats and damage from the wave action that is now eating away at the golf course.

The golf course saw 85,000 rounds of play this year, Dennis said, up 35,000 from when the course first opened.

Jenkins said the amount of play is "pretty good for a golf course three or four years old." The golf course was open for play in July of 1986. It costs $10 for a 18-hole round.

Nine holes will be closed for the winter repair project. The remaining nine holes of the 18-hole course and the 9-hole executive course will be open.

The city is accepting bids for the project.

Next year the city plans to create islands in the golf course lakes as wetland habitat for water birds, said Jenkins.