DEC Calling for Emergency Action to Fight Hydrilla

Fighting the Spread of Hydrilla

Hydrilla Emergency

May 21, 2012

Ithaca (WENY) - Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens is calling for emergency action to fight an infestation of Hydrilla in New york waterways. The invasive water plant kills fish and clogs boat lanes. Experts worry it will spread throughout the state and into the Great Lakes. Bob Berry and his wife live on their boat in Cayuga Lake. They've been fishing on the lake for 20 years. Bob knew about the Hydrilla problem last year and and wants to see more done this year.

“Like last year we couldn't use the boats for two days but it all depends how long it takes to treat it,” says Berry.

This year Cornell Cooperative Extension plans to use a few different formulas of a systemic herbicide to kill the plant's seeds, called tubers, that grow on the hydrilla stem.

Roxanna Johnston is the Watershed Coordinator for Cornell Cooperative Extenstion in Ithaca says, “All along that stem it starts to put out these little potato like fleshy structures and those multiply nearly exponentially each year if you don't treat them.”

Right now Hydrilla is only found in the lake's inlet, but if it's not controlled, it could spread as far as the great lakes.

“If not treated we expect the inlet to be completely covered within 3 to 5 years so no boating motorized or paddle boat no crews no regatta’s none of those water based events.”

And no fishing. Hydrilla can devastate an entire ECO system.

“It's pretty bad it's one of the worst if not the worst invasive plant in the world, and that’s really not an overstatement,” says Johnston.

Boater are reminded to clean anything that touches the water. Cornell Cooperative Extension will start treating the inlet for Hydrilla in June.