2018 Hydrilla Eradication Efforts in the Cayuga Lake Watershed

Cayuga Lake Hydrilla Treatment

August 13 offshore of Stewart Park, Ithaca NY

For the past two years, the Hydrilla Task Force of Cayuga Lake has been monitoring a line of small but thriving hydrilla plants anchored in shallow water just offshore of Ithaca’s Stewart Park  in Cayuga Lake. On August 13, the US Army Corps of Engineers hydrilla team for Cayuga Lake oversaw the targeted treatment of these plants using the aquatic herbicide Komeen Crystal.

Led by Regional Technical Specialist Michael Greer of the US Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District, the team will work with Solitude Lake Management to apply the herbicide directly to the the plants, in a water depth of about three feet with a surface area of 4 acres.

At no time will the herbicide concentration exceed safe water use standards for humans, wildlife, or fish. The use of lake water as a source of drinking water is not recommended at any time. Residents should be aware that the application concentration of 1 part per million of copper is close to the drinking water action level of 1.3 parts per million. To ensure full public confidence, water quality will be tested regularly over a 72 hour period following application. Additional tests will be made at the Bolton Point Water Plant.

The Corps and Task Force hope that this single treatment will finish off this threat to the shallow waters at the south end of Cayuga Lake.

Uncontrolled, hydrilla could quickly spread to fill the south end with a thick mat of dense plant growth that would inhibit boating, paddling, fishing and native species.

According to Jon Negley, Tompkins County Soil and Water Conservation District, “Continued monitoring of any future plant growth will dictate any future control options pursued by the Task Force.”

For specific questions related to chemical application and monitoring contact:

Tompkins County Soil and Water Conservation District
170 Bostwick Road, Ithaca, NY 14850

Cayuga Inlet and Fall Creek Success

July 6, 2018 

Hydrilla is absent from Ithaca’s creeks and waterfront, thanks to  an effective
7-year treatment and management program

by  Hilary Lambert Steward/Executive Director of Cayuga Lake Watershed Network on behalf of the Hydrilla Task Force

Every summer since 2012, June and July were the months when businesses and residences around the south end of Cayuga Lake received notices that chemical treatments were starting soon, to continue the long-term eradication of hydrilla from Cayuga Inlet, Stewart Park near the mouth of Fall Creek, and just offshore in Cayuga Lake’s southeastern corner. For six years, interns installed hundreds of stakes topped with yellow notices along the lake’s edge and waterways. Not so in 2018!

The invasive aquatic plant hydrilla ( Hydrilla verticillata) was first found by an eagle-eyed intern on the Floating Classroom (a program of Discover Cayuga Lake) in August 2011. A massive coordinated rapid response effort carried out by local and state agencies, researchers and community groups, revealed that 166 acres of Cayuga Inlet – Ithaca’s premiere waterway – was infested with hydrilla.

Seven years after that discovery, the news is good: there will be no chemical treatments for hydrilla in Cayuga Inlet or Fall Creek this summer, because no hydrilla has been found in either water body for over a year. Monitoring and testing will continue, to ensure that no hydrilla has returned.

Thanks go to the Hydrilla Task Force team that has overseen a careful, conservative treatment process each year; to the stalwart researchers who have been monitoring the creeks meticulously each year; and to the engaged public and Hydrilla Hunters who have their eyes peeled for its appearance from July to as late as November, when waterways cool down for the winter.

However, there is a recently-discovered patch of hydrilla in shallow waters off Stewart Park; and two plants have been found farther north offshore of the east and west shores, in deeper water. As of mid-July, the Stewart Park plants are beginning to show themselves at the surface. These will be monitored and treated.

This summer, the south end Hydrilla Task Force is working with the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to control these new south-end hydrilla discoveries. In charge of the USACE treatment team is Michael J. Greer, Regional Technical Specialist, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Buffalo District.

Teamwork and communication will be key to the two groups’ interactions. The Hydrilla Task Force will do the mapping and monitoring. The USACE will treat, using chemicals if the Task Force finds it necessary. The Hydrilla Task Force remains responsible to manage hydrilla by hand removal or with barriers such as benthic mats (thick mats that keep out sunlight). Funding for treatment will be provided by the USACE.

The south-end Hydrilla Task Force is coordinated by Mike Hall and the Tompkins County Soil and Water Conservation District Office. Bob Johnson of Racine-Johnson Aquatic Ecologists provides monitoring services. The Tompkins County Department of Health and Cornell Cooperative Extension are regularly consulted. Hilary Lambert and Jenn Grillo Tufano of the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network coordinate public information and Hydrilla Hunters training and outreach via the Outreach Committee.

Contact: Jenn Grillo Tufano with the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network if you:

  • Would like to help us install and maintain hydrilla information dispensers around Cayuga Lake
  • Want to be added to our list of e-subscribers (free) for our Hydrilla Hunter Happenings newsletter
  • Want to know when a "lake rake" training is scheduled
  • Want a Hydrilla Hunter info and i.d. kit (free)

Last updated January 15, 2020