Ithaca (WSYR-TV) -- You can't see it right now, but it’s growing at the bottom of Cayuga inlet. Soon, a warm day will trigger the hydrilla to shoot up and it will grow fast -- up to a foot a day. That’s why crews are loading up on herbicide to try and kill the weed off before it has a chance to sprout and start to choke up this waterway. Another herbicide will be used later this summer to go after more of it. Experts call hydrilla the worst aquatic invasive species in the world.
"No chemical is 100 percent specific for what you use it for. Because these have both been used so long they've been able to narrow down the concentrations to target more of this plant and less others. Some plants will not be affected by this at all, some will be moderately impacted, a few are also susceptible just like hydrilla,” said City of Ithaca Watershed Coordinator, Roxanna Johnston.
Warning signs have been put up to let people know the weed control has gone into the Inlet. They've even put signs up along Cayuga Lake as well, though they aren't treating it. So far, they haven't found hydrilla in Cayuga Lake and they're trying to keep it that way.
"If you don't eradicate it and you move into just management that's what that means, from here on out you are either doing weed harvesting periodically or herbicides periodically to maintain a useable water system. If you eradicate it then what you're doing is monitoring periodically forever,” said Johnston.
Ithaca is hoping these treatments will erase hydrilla from the Inlet, but figure it will still take about five to eight yeas of chemical treatment before they can move hopefully into just a monitoring phase.
Two boats were used to treat about 100 acres of the Cayuga Inlet on Tuesday. And we’re told the windy conditions were very good for mixing the herbicides for maximum effect.