The Tompkins County Legislature has approved $26,100 in contingency funds to take the first steps toward eradicating the invasive aquatic species invading the Cayuga Inlet. Application of the herbicide will begin Tuesday.
Along with the funds now appropriated by the legislature, the Tompkins County Soil and Water Conservation District received $50,000 from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and $15,000 in product contributed by the herbicide manufacturer. This totals the $91,000 necessary for the first herbicide treatment.
Roxy Johnston, a member of the Cayuga Inlet Hydrilla Task Force, said the Conservation District plans to receive a permit from the Department of Environmental Conservation on Tuesday that will allow it to begin applying the first round of herbicide. The treatment will go on for 5 years.
Holly Menninger, another member of the task force, said it is important that this herbicide treatment is applied in a timely manner.
“If we don’t, you can imagine lots and lots of turions are going to spread throughout the inlet,” she said. “They’re going to escape into the lake, and our problems are going to be enormous next year. So that’s why we’re working under a very short time frame.”
Local boaters have been asked to voluntarily stop boating for the time being and for a few days following the application of the herbicide.
Johnston said using herbicides is never the first choice, but at this point it is the only option to stop the plant from spreading more.
“We need to keep everyone engaged so we can really win this effort in eradicating hydrilla,” Johnston said. “We’ll need to have people really being more careful with how they clean their boats and really being on the lookout for these plants. So it’ll be an ongoing effort.”