Aug 19, 2011

Ithaca, NY - State and Local Agencies Meet to Respond to Recent Discovery of Hydrilla in Cayuga Lake Inlet

Ithaca, NY - STATE AND LOCAL AGENCIES MEET TO RESPOND TO RECENT DISCOVERY OF HYDRILLA IN CAYUGA LAKE INLET

State and local municipal officials along with biologists from Cornell University gathered Friday, August 19, to discuss the scope of the problem and rapid response options brought to their attention by the August 16th discovery of the invasive water plant hydrilla in the Cayuga Lake Inlet. Attendees included representatives from the City of Ithaca, the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network, the Finger Lakes Region of the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, and the NYS Canal Corporation. A follow-up meeting has been scheduled to develop plans for hydrilla management, spread prevention, and public outreach.

Hydrilla verticillata, commonly known as ‘water thyme’ or simply as ‘hydrilla’ is one of the world's most aggressive aquatic invasive plants. If left unchecked, hydrilla can clog waterways; interfere with boating, fishing, and swimming; and cost millions of dollars to control. 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.

Recreational users of the Cayuga Inlet are urged to employ clean boating practices to prevent the further spread of hydrilla and other aquatic invasive species. All plants, mud or debris should be removed from boats or equipment that came in contact with the lake's water. Drain any water from boats before leaving a launch area. Clean and dry anything that came in contact with water including boats, trailers, gear, clothing, dogs, etc. Never release plants, fish, or bait into a water body unless they came out of that water body. Click here for full text of New York Invasive Species Research Institute August 19th press release on hydrilla in the Cayuga Inlet.