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What is Hydrilla?
HOW HYDRILLA SPREADS?
What is being done?
What can you do?

What is Hydrilla?

Hydrilla (hydrilla verticillata) is an invasive aquatic plant that was first identified in the Connecticut River in 2016 in Glastonbury, CT. Three years later, the Connecticut Agriculture Experiment Station (CAES) surveyed the Connecticut River from Agawam, MA to the Long Island Sound, reporting at least 774 acres of hydrilla.  

Hydrilla can outcompete native plants and, as a result, replace habitat for sensitive wildlife, including migratory fish. In recent years, thick mats of hydrilla have crowded out boaters, anglers and those who come to recreate on the Connecticut River. Marinas and municipalities have reported that they can no longer access boat slips and docks due to the severity of the hydrilla infestations, limiting business opportunity.  

Image by Connecticut Agriculture Experiment Station
What is Hydrilla?
HOW HYDRILLA SPREADS?
What is being done?
What can you do?

How Hydrilla Spreads?

Hydrilla in the Connecticut River is of particular concern for several reasons. New hydrilla plants are created through fragmentation. That means when it breaks apart, fragments of the plant may float downriver and re-root, creating another mat of hydrilla at a new location. The hydrilla in the Connecticut River is also different than any other species of hydrilla found because it does not have tubers on the roots of the plant. Because hydrilla spreads through fragmentation, when paddlers, boaters and wildlife become entangled in hydrilla, they can spread the plant to reaches downriver. Additionally, when boaters move between water bodies, hydrilla fragments can remain in or on the vessel and be introduced to new water bodies.  

What is Hydrilla?
HOW HYDRILLA SPREADS?
What is being done?
What can you do?

What’s Being Done?

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 video. Or read the Executive Summary of the 12-Town Environmental Review Team Report conducted by Connecticut Resource Conservation & Development.  

In 2021, CRC is seeking funding to pilot projects such as using benthic barriers to suppress weed growth, exploring the possibility of mechanical harvesting, and working with experts to understand various treatment options. Ultimately, controlling hydrilla in the Connecticut River will be a multi-million-dollar project which will require treatment as well as 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.  

What is Hydrilla?
HOW HYDRILLA SPREADS?
What is being done?
What can you do?

What Can You Do?

The first step to slowing the spread of hydrilla is to learn about aquatic invasive species and share information with friends, family and neighbors who use visit the river. When you see hydrilla in the river, avoid the infestation as much as possible so that it does not further fragment and spread. If you see hydrilla north of Agawam, MA be sure to report it to CRC or the appropriate state agency.  

Finally, as you travel between water bodies, it is imperative that everyone cleansdrains and then dries their boats – this applies to kayaks, canoes, jet skis power boats and trailers. As the age old saying goes — “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”