One of the most aggressive aquatic plants to invade North America, called hydrilla, was first detected in August 2011 in the Cayuga Inlet by a volunteer on board the Floating Classroom (the first spotting was in the Linderman Creek area of the Inlet). In a follow-up survey, Robert L. Johnson, a local plant expert with Cornell University and Racine-Johnson Aquatic Ecologists, located several areas of the Inlet with extensive populations of hydrilla (Plant Monitoring 2011). In August 2013, hydrilla was found in Fall Creek and in the shallow southeast corner of Cayuga Lake.
If it is not contained, it is likely to spread into a vast network of interconnected water bodies in New York State and beyond, including the Great Lakes via its reproductive structures (tubers and turions). The NY Invasive Species Research Institute has provided a summary of information about hydrilla.
The Hydrilla Task Force is working to fully eradicate hydrilla from the Cayuga Lake Watershed, even though it is likely to take until 2020. Efforts too date are very successful. Treatments and monitoring will continue in ongoing years to ensure that hydrilla does not spread further. Successful eradication in other areas of the country has been done, and it is still feasible in the Cayuga Inlet, Fall Creek, and the southeastern corner of Cayuga Lake.
Since hydrilla in the Cayuga Inlet was found early on (on a point in the invasion curve where eradication is still possible) the goal stated in the 2012 Work Plan is complete eradication. Many control measures have been considered but for an assortment of reasons, most are not viable for our infestation at this time. (Control Method Considerations)
There are four main management options for hydrilla: biological, chemical, mechanical, and physical.
Everyone can help in the fight against hydrilla. Learn more about what you can do to stop the spread of this invasive water weed.
Hydrilla can be identified by many characteristics, such as pointed leaves, potato-like tubers, and aggressive growth.
The Hydrilla Task Force of the Cayuga Lake Watershed learns the best ways to deal with hydrilla from other areas of the U.S. who have overcome it.
Last updated November 3, 2016