Hydrilla program manager James Balyszak joined the Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom Thursday to present an update on the fight to keep the highly invasive plant out of Cayuga Lake.
Hydrilla was first discovered in the Cayuga Inlet in the summer of 2011, and since then officials have been fighting the plant with herbicidal treatments. It has not yet been discovered beyond the inlet.
The plant can spread rapidly if gone unnoticed, and Balyzsak says early discovery goes a long way.
“When you have that early detection, that falls in the realm of eradication still being feasible,” Balyszak says.
Between federal, state and local funding, it’s costing roughly half a million dollars a year to fight the plant.
But Balyszak says in places like the state of Florida, where hydrilla was allowed to spread rapidly, the cost is much greater.
“The cost that Florida incurs—in a place where Hydrilla infestation is so widespread that eradication isn’t feasible—they’re spending 20 to 30 million dollars a year to just manage on smaller scales,” he says. “The population is so entrenched and so widespread.”
The Cayuga Inlet will be closed Tuesday for the first round of herbicidal treatments.