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Invasive aquatic plant hydrilla found at City of Tonawanda boat launch

Hydrilla, an invasive aquatic plant, was spotted last year in North Tonawanda. That prompted concern by the state's Department of Environmental Conservation.
Credit: WGRZ.com
A piece of the invasive aquatic weed, hydrilla sits on the City of North Tonawanda marina wall.

CITY OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. — Hydrilla, an invasive aquatic plant, was spotted last year in North Tonawanda.

It's been spotted again recently, this time in the City of Tonawanda, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

"This past summer, a hydrilla plant found by a boat steward during a routine inspection prompted another round of surveys along the Niagara River," the DEC said in a news release.

That latest search led to another hydrilla discovery, this one between a boat and trailer at the Niawanda Park boat launch in the City of Tonawanda.

"A single plant fragment transported to a new waterbody is all it takes for new hydrilla infestations to occur," DEC commissioner Basil Seggos said in a statement.

"This demonstrates just how important it is for all New York State residents and visitors to properly clean, drain, and dry their watercraft and equipment before launching into a waterbody. Keeping New York's aquatic ecosystems healthy benefits everyone."

Hydrilla is one of the most difficult aquatic invasive species to control because the plant breaks apart easily, and new plants develop from pieces no bigger than an inch long. The plant negatively affects recreation, tourism, and the aquatic ecosystem.

The DEC is urging people to clean, drain, and dry their boats, jet skis, and other equipment before use in the water.

"A lot of invasive species we generally think about have a negative impact on the environment, and that is definitely the case with hydrilla. It can out-compete native plant communities and decrease biodiversity," Andrea Locke, regional manager of the Western New York Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management, told 2 On Your Side last year.

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