Elmira/Corning Regional Airport

Preventing Hydrilla

Written By: Joe Melillo

In an effort to stop the invasive plant Hydrilla from spreading Senator Chuck Schumer was in Watkins Glen with a message.

Preventing Hydrilla
 

July 3, 2012

Watkins Glen (WENY) - In an effort to stop the invasive plant Hydrilla from spreading Senator Chuck Schumer was in Watkins Glen with a message. He says counties need to work together to stop Hydrilla from spreading any further than the cayuga inlet, and the most important part is education.

The ongoing fight against Hydrilla has shifted from the inlet of Cayuga lake, to the shores of Seneca Lake. In an effort to create awareness, Senator Schumer met with leaders of several counties to talk about strategies to fight the invasive plant. The senator says he will fight for funding to help battle Hydrilla now before it gets out of control.

Greg Updyke captains the Seneca legacy, the main vessel for the Seneca Lake Cruises. The captain worries about Hydrilla hurting the swimming areas and eventually causing problems with his boat.

“If we start sucking in a lot of weed growth into those then it becomes a problem in overheating the engines,” says Updyke.

Businesses like Seneca Lake Cruises are essential to the local economy, and will be most effected by a Hydrilla invasion. Senator Chuck Schumer has seen what happens when Hydrilla takes over in Florida.

“My job will be to use some muscle,” says Schumer. “Whatever clout I have to get the help and funding that you need for it, but to have a plan that encompass these five counties and the finger lakes will really help.”

Todays meeting brought together leaders from the Army Corps of Engineers , county leaders and Fish and Wildlife officials; a multi county approach to prevention, and education.

Roxanna Johnston the Watershed Coordinator from Ithaca says education is the best way to prevention.

“Education is huge. We can eradicate it. There are successful programs in other states but if a boat brings it or an aquarium owner brings it right back you know we've lost all of that effort and making people aware of what to look for is key to long term success.”

Parts of Hydrilla can stay active for months in damp places, and even dried up tubers can stay active for at least four years. So if you're boating this summer make sure to check for Hydrilla.