Rep. Tom Reed met with the Hydrilla Task Force today in Ithaca to learn more about education and eradication efforts in response to the highly invasive aquatic weed in the Cayuga Inlet.
"Hydrilla represents a serious threat to ecosystems, recreation and the entire local economy," Reed said. "It is imperative we do everything we can to address this issue now so that we can prevent the further spread of hydrilla and protect the area."
Hydrilla is an invasive aquatic plant commonly used in aquariums. The plant's quick spread in the wild is the result of indiscriminate dumping of aquarium water. Hydrilla can spread quickly through fragmentation of the plant which can travel through air and water currents, as well as boats and boat trailers.
"Education efforts underway by the task force are vital to engaging the community and ensuring that proper methods are taken when removing boats and trailers from the water and preventing the spread of hydrilla," continued Reed. "Given the rate at which this plant can spread, the first line of defense against the spread of hydrilla is the surrounding community. For us to be effective in our efforts, we will work to ensure New York gets its fair share of available resources."
Native to Southeastern Asia, the plant first surfaced in the United States in Florida in the 1950s and quickly spread through Florida's waterways. Currently, Florida spends more than $10 million per year trying to control the plant's spread. Locally, the plant was first discovered in the Cayuga Inlet in 2011. The Hydrilla Task Force convened shortly thereafter.
"Efforts by the Hydrilla Task Force have shown that the species can be controlled and hopefully eradicated. It is important to ensure they have the resources on the ground to move fully from the eradication stage to the monitoring stage. We are looking at ways the federal government can engage on this important issue because the more we know about the plant and its effects, the better prepared we will be to contain and eradicate hydrilla."