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Hydrilla photo courtesy of NYSDEC
Hydrilla photo courtesy of NYSDEC

DEC: Invasive aquatic plant hydrilla found in Niagara River


Fri, Sep 30th 2022 07:00 am

Water recreationists reminded to ‘Clean. Drain. Dry.’ boats & equipment before putting in the water

Submitted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced hydrilla, an invasive aquatic plant, was found at two additional locations along the eastern shore of the Niagara River. The aquatic invasive was found and treated at a marina in North Tonawanda last year. This past summer, a hydrilla plant found by a boat steward during a routine inspection prompted another round of surveys along the Niagara River.

“A single plant fragment transported to a new waterbody is all it takes for new hydrilla infestations to occur,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “This demonstrates just how important it is for all New York state residents and visitors to properly clean, drain and dry their watercraft and equipment before launching into a waterbody. Keeping New York’s aquatic ecosystems healthy benefits everyone.”

The intercepted hydrilla fragment was wedged between a boat and trailer at the Niawanda Park boat launch in the City of Tonawanda. DEC and the Western New York Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (WNY PRISM) are conducting more extensive surveys of marinas and inlets in the area to ensure there are no additional hydrilla infestations. DEC will be working closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (Ontario, Canada) to amend the North Tonawanda hydrilla management plan to include the new finds and to conduct control activities.

Hydrilla is a federally listed noxious weed and a prohibited plant under state invasive species regulations. It spreads quickly, outcompeting native aquatic plants for space, and interfering with activities such as boating and fishing. DEC’s Bureau of Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health is involved in several large-scale hydrilla control projects in Cayuga and Tompkins counties (Finger Lakes/Lake Ontario watershed), Erie County (Lake Erie watershed), Tioga County (Upper Susquehanna River watershed), and Westchester County (Croton River and Hudson River watersheds) to mitigate the impacts of the aquatic invasive and protect waterbodies from further spread.

Simple steps to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species can be found on DEC’s website at https://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/48221.html. For more information about hydrilla, visit DEC’s webpage: https://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/104790.html.

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