Avoid Aquatic Hitchhikers

By D. Ernes – Lake Management Committee

The other day my wife and I were visiting a local MetroPark when we encountered two individuals wading in a pond along the shoreline. Always the inquisitive person, we asked what they were doing. They indicated that they were looking for evidence of tubers (root system) from Hydrilla. Hydrilla is an invasive aquatic plant that is prolific. For those Star Trek fans, think Tribbles on steroids. They can take over a water body, and strangle all other natural plants, also causing issues with fishery and recreation. You may recall that a few years ago, our lake was part of a MetroPark survey looking for the incidence of Hydrilla. Luckily none was found.

As the conversation continued, we asked how it got into the pond. The answer was from cross-contamination, mainly by people boating on a lake that is infested and then bringing their boat to another lake without proper cleaning. They even mentioned that their weighters were cleaned as the root systems can end up in the soles and be transferred. A single tuber a few inches long is enough to cause it to spread and take over a waterbody. Once it is present, it requires a massive effort (and money) with chemicals and other means to rid the infestation.

We are ramping up our boating season, with Memorial Day just around the corner. It is imperative that, if you use your boat at other lakes, that you diligently clean all exposed surfaces and any wet wells to ensure that nothing gets into our lake. One small hitchhiker could be a disaster for our lake. We already have some invasive species on our lake. Believe me, we do not want this one. Tell your friends especially if you know that they visit other lakes. This is definitely one of those times that we all need to …


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Roaming Shores, OH
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