The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is treating several acres of in the south end of Cayuga Lake in an ongoing effort to control and eradicate the aggressive aquatic plant hydrilla.
According to a news release from the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network, the Corps of Engineers has carried out weekly treatment sessions since June 24 offshore of Stewart Park in Ithaca. Frequent monitoring of the 70-acre area, including approximately 3,500 linear feet of shoreline at Stewart Park, has found no hydrilla plants, indicating that the treatment has been effective.
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During a mid-August survey, however, ecologists found many hydrilla fragments floating among the boats moored in the vicinity of Merrill Family Sailing Center, and tracked the fragments to growing, rooted hydrilla plants 100 feet south of the sailing center docks, at a depth of 6 feet. Crews placed benthic mats on some of the plants, effectively smothering them, but locally murky and turbulent conditions called for additional treatment quickly, before the plants could grow and release tubers, and to prevent them from being further fragmented and spread by waves and boat traffic.
To that end, the Corps of Engineers made plans to apply chelated copper and Sonar H4C in a 2.5 acre plot and Sonar H4C in a 6.5 acre plot at this location on Wednesday, Aug. 28, to be followed up with an application to both areas of Sonar H4C on Thursday, Sept. 5.
The watershed network said that the treatment concentration does not impact regular uses of the lake in this area. The Bolton Point Water Treatment Plant is monitoring water quality during and after these treatments, and a season-end public information and discussion session will be scheduled for early November.