The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that the plant hydrilla, an aquatic invasive species (AIS), has been found at the City of North Tonawanda Marina and now threatens the Niagara River.
DEC and its partners, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), are working to prevent the infestation from spreading. There are no other known infestations of hydrilla along the river. The discovery was made by a concerned citizen who reported it to USACE.
Hydrilla negatively impacts recreation, tourism, and aquatic ecosystems, and is one of the most difficult aquatic invasive species to control. This invasive plant breaks apart easily, and new plants can develop from pieces of stem that are no more than an inch long.
Boaters visiting the marina are advised to lift their motors and clean their props by reversing and then forwarding several times to dislodge any hydrilla fragments before entering the Niagara River. All boaters should clean, drain, and dry their boats and trailers before launching into any new water body to help protect New York’s waters from invasive species.
DEC will apply an aquatic herbicide (copper) to the site during the week of Aug. 23, to prevent hydrilla from reaching the Niagara River, where it would be impossible to control.
DEC is expected to work with the city of North Tonawanda, USACE, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Western New York Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management to develop a long-term management plan, including aquatic plant monitoring, additional herbicide treatments, and education and outreach efforts.
A boat steward will be available at the marina several days a week for the next three weeks to answer questions about aquatic invasive species and hydrilla.
Photo of Hydrilla mat courtesy DEC.