Invasive weed threatens Chattahoochee Valley waterways - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Invasive weed threatens Chattahoochee Valley waterways

VALLEY, AL (WTVM) -

Boats in the Valley are already tangled in Hydrilla's mess. First discovered in Florida, Hydrilla has been wreaking havoc on waterways across the U-S since 1960. In the last few years, the under water weed has invaded the waters that feed the Chattahoochee River.

Dawson Ingram, Lake Resources Manager for Georgia Power explains "and that species is something that we call, like, the aquatic kudzu because it spreads very quickly. And so it is something - it's a high concern to us"

Concerns that experts jumped quickly into action to try and clear up. Pulling all this trash right here from Lake Harden today, but experts say one of the biggest concerns on the lake and any body of water is something they can't see: Hydrilla.

The plant can quickly grow thick enough to stall jet skis and boats, but can also put under water plant and wild life at risk for destruction and even extinction environmentalists fear.

"If Hydrilla displaces those naturally occurring habitats and that larger diversity of native species, it can have deleterious effects on the whole ecosystem," explains Tony Dodd, an environmental specialist with Georgia Power. "Fishes may be robbed of the food that they once had to feed upon, or there are certain types of habitat niches that fishes rely upon at different stages of their lives."

It is estimated that a square foot plot of Hydrilla can produce more that 15,000 plants that can grow up to 25 feet tall. Making the effort to rid the waters of it imperative.

Ingram adds "You can rarely ever eliminate any weed from your yard, just like we can't eradicate Hydrilla from our water systems. But we can actively treat that to control its growth and manage it."

Experts say drowning out Hydrilla is a collaborative effort. They suggest carefully monitoring your boats or jet skis and clearing them of weeds because they could be Hydrilla. Also if you own an aquarium you no longer want, they say it's best not to dump it in a lake or river.

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