The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this week began the season's treatment process for the invasive aquatic plant hydrilla in Cayuga Lake, hoping to build upon significant reductions from last year.
On Tuesday, Corps staff began preliminary field work to monitor the growth and development of vegetation in Cayuga Lake, keeping an eye out specifically for hydrilla on the lakeshore near Wells College and the Village of Aurora. Within the next few weeks, after some more field work, the Corps will begin treatment with herbicides, according to Corps Regional Technical Specialist Mike Greer.
Hydrilla is an especially threatening invasive species because of its ability to spread so quickly and heavily, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. A single hydrilla plant can release hundreds of buds, or tubers, meaning even a few plants not eradicated can quickly reproduce entire populations, according to Greer.
When spread, hydrilla creates thick, knotting mats of vegetation that can make recreational activities like boating, swimming or fishing more difficult, in addition to threatening the delicate ecosystem of the lake.