Fighting Hydrilla in the Cayuga Lake Watershed

What's Being Done

The Hydrilla Task Force works to fully eradicate hydrilla from the Cayuga Lake Watershed. Efforts to date are very successful. Treatments at the south end of the watershed (Cayuga Inlet, Fall Creek, and the southeastern corner of Cayuga Lake) includes treatment of rooted hydrilla and ongoing monitoring to ensure hydrilla does not return from areas where it has been eliminated. Treatment of the hydrilla infestation in Aurora began in 2017. Successful eradication elsewhere informs local plans. 

Hydrilla in the Cayuga Inlet was found early on, at a point in the invasion curve where eradication was deemed possible. The goal stated in the 2012 Work Plan is complete eradication. Many control measures were considered and most are not viable for our infestation at this time. See  Control Method Considerations.

  • National experts on hydrilla and local resource managers/stewards agree that herbicide treatments using endothall and fluridone will have the best chance at successful eradication, when coupled with other strategies such as monitoring, outreach, and prevention, as explained in the managements plans.
  • Boat traffic of any kind can cause fragments of the plants to break off. These fragments can be transported to areas that are not currently infested and sprout roots, establishing new populations. Any boats coming out the Inlet should be thoroughly cleaned ( How you can help make sure hydrilla isn't being spread).
  • Like any invasive species, introduction can have very harmful effects on the native ecosystem. Hydrilla is extremely hardy and can grow in even the worst conditions (low nutrients, minimal sunlight, etc.) where other plants cannot. It can grow up to a foot a day, matting over the water, blocking sunlight and oxygen for other aquatic species. (More information  about hydrilla). As infestions progress over time, there is less likely a chance of fully eradicating this nuisance from the waterbody (Invasion Curve).
  • Hydrilla infestations will have a detrimental effect on the local economies that rely on these waterways -for flood protection, property tax revenues, and tourism spending, particularly spending associated with recreational boating and water-dependent businesses. Read more information of  hydrilla's economic impacts on the Cayuga Inlet.

Last updated January 11, 2021