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Hydrilla. Photo: Purdue Extension
Hydrilla. Photo: Purdue Extension

NY boaters asked to help prevent spread of invasive water plant

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Hydrilla is one of the most aggressive, invasive water plants. Its long, trailing stems form thick mats that prevent native water vegetation and fish from getting enough oxygen, light and nutrients.

Hydrilla was found at Cayuga Inlet, near Ithaca, last August. If unchecked it could spread Cayuga Lake, other Finger Lakes, as well as Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Cornell Cooperative Extension is warning recreational boaters to take precautions and prevent the spread of the invasive plant. Sarah Harris has more.

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Sarah Harris
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Hydrilla is primarily spread by boats. The plant attaches to the bottom of water craft and goes unnoticed by boat owners, who travel to other bodies of water and unwittingly take the invasive species with them.

But boaters can help stem the spread of hydrilla, too.  Cornell Cooperative Extension invasive species specialist Charles O’Neill says now is the time for marinas and boaters to take precautions against the spread of hydrilla. 

The extension suggests thoroughly inspecting and cleaning boats before launching them. Any attached plant matter should be disposed of on dry land.

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