Connecticut River Conservancy has been working with municipalities, nonprofit groups, government agencies, businesses, boaters and individuals to address the threat of hydrilla. A group of stakeholders has collaboratively written a 5 Year Management Plan to be updated on an annual basis with appropriate modifications. To learn more about the collaboration around hydrilla, watch this short documentary. An Executive Summary of the 12-Town Environmental Review Team Report conducted by Connecticut Resource Conservation & Development can be found here.
In 2021, CRC received funding to pilot the installation of benthic barriers to suppress hydrilla growth, and work with experts to understand various treatment options. In partnership with CAES, CRC drafted a report on the success and challenges of using benthic barriers and what managers should consider when weighing this option. Read the full report here.
In 2021 and 2022 CRC and its partners worked to advocate for federal funding to study and treat the magnitude of hydrilla in the watershed. This successful effort resulted in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers engagement in the project. The project will investigate hydrilla’s growth patterns, water exchange dynamics in the CT River, and evaluate herbicide efficacy in laboratory conditions in 2023 to guide operational scale field demonstrations of herbicide efficacy in 2024. Read more on the USACE website here.
In 2022 CRC further tested the efficacy of benthic barrier at another site in the Connecticut River and had similar successes at both sites. Read the full report here.
In 2023, CRC continues to develop a community based social marketing strategy to engage boaters in the “clean, drain and dry” practice to prevent the spread of hydrilla. Learn more about our progress to date and our next steps. We are also collaborating with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New England district for a demonstration project to determine the effectiveness of herbicides registered for aquatic use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to safely reduce and control the spread of the Connecticut River hydrilla.
Ultimately, controlling hydrilla in the Connecticut River will be a multimillion-dollar project which will require not only treatment, but outreach and education to all those who recreate on the Connecticut River. Finally, CRC is working with state and federal legislators to advocate for funding and comprehensive management of hydrilla.
Funding is provided by the Grants for the Control of Aquatic Invasive Species Program administered by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).