News

Aug 16, 2011

Ithaca, NY - Hydrilla, One of World's Worst Aquatic Invasive Plants, Discovered in Cayuga Lake Inlet

Ithaca, NY - HYDRILLA, ONE OF WORLD'S WORST AQUATIC INVASIVE PLANTS, DISCOVERED IN CAYUGA LAKE INLET

One of the world's most aggressive aquatic invasive plants, Hydrilla verticillata, commonly known as ‘water thyme’ or simply as ‘hydrilla’, has been discovered in the Cayuga Lake Inlet in Ithaca, NY, by staff of the Cornell University Floating Classroom. A follow-up survey by Robert L. Johnson, a former research support specialist with the Cornell University Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, now with Racine-Johnson Aquatic Ecologists, located extensive hydrilla populations in several areas of the Inlet. According to Dr. Holly Menninger, Coordinator of the New York Invasive Species Research Institute, the hydrilla appears to be localized to the Inlet, with no evidence of the plant in Cayuga Lake proper. This is the first detection of hydrilla in upstate New York.

Hydrilla can be easily spread by fragments of the plant being moved by currents and on boats and trailers. The risk to Cayuga and the other Finger Lakes, as well as to other inland New York waterbodies is considered to be substantial. Hydrilla has long slender underwater stems that can grow up to an inch per day to lengths of up to 25 feet. Once the plant reaches the surface, it creates a thick mat of vegetation, quickly shading out other aquatic plants and displacing native species like pondweeds and wild celery. Click here for full text of New York Invasive Species Research Institute August 16th press release on hydrilla in the Cayuga Inlet.