Tracking Invasive Hydrilla in Cayuga Lake
Produced by: Ismail Abdur-razzaaq, Grade 9
Video & photography by: Nancy Coddington & Solvejg Wastvedt
Bill Foster is the Program Director for Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom. The program has engaged the Ithaca community around the future of water resources since 2003. But, in 2011, one observant student intern created another important role for the Floating Classroom: monitoring the spread of Hydrilla verticillata, a fast-growing invasive species. “She had been studying aquatic plants a little bit,” says Foster of the former intern. “When she picked up a plant she didn’t recognize, instead of justing saying, “I don’t know what this is” and tossing it away, she looked it up.”
This was the first time hydrilla had been observed in any water bodies connected to the Great Lakes and it was a big deal.
“The problem with hydrilla is it grows very quickly,” says student producer Ismail Abdur-razzaaq. “This creates large mats which block pipes for drinking water. It also can have a negative effect on aquatic life.”
Click here to learn how you can get involved in the volunteer monitoring program and become a Hydrilla Hunter on Cayuga Lake and the surrounding areas.