Delaware to Treat Public Ponds for Invasive Hydrilla

Invasive hydrilla underwater choking off a pond and fish habitat USFWSImage via USFWS

DOVER, DE — With inland water temperatures rising and aquatic plants emerging, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) announced plans to treat downstate public ponds for the invasive aquatic weed hydrilla. The treatment is set to begin on Thursday, June 13, weather permitting.

Hydrilla, a non-native plant likely introduced through the aquarium trade, can severely impact local ecosystems. It grows rapidly, choking ponds and waterways, outcompeting beneficial plant species, and obstructing fishing and boating activities. To combat this, the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife will treat Wagamons Pond in Milton and Concord Pond near Seaford.

Signs will be posted at the boat ramps of each pond on the day of the treatment. The herbicide Sonar, which contains fluridone, will be used. This herbicide, registered and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has been used in Delaware since the 1980s. It’s effective against hydrilla and environmentally safe. Sonar poses no threat to wildlife, including fish, and does not restrict fishing or the consumption of fish from treated waters.

However, there is a special restriction on using water from the treated ponds for irrigation for 30 days after treatment. Residents and farmers near these ponds should avoid using this water to irrigate gardens, lawns, or agricultural lands during this period to prevent possible damage to their plants. Landowners with irrigation permits from these ponds will be notified before the treatment.

Hydrilla’s aggressive growth necessitates ongoing management to protect local ecosystems and recreational activities. By treating these ponds, DNREC aims to maintain balanced aquatic environments and ensure that the waterways remain accessible for fishing and boating.

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Anglers and boaters also play a crucial role in preventing the spread of hydrilla. After visiting treated ponds, they are encouraged to remove all aquatic plants from their boats, trailers, and gear before leaving the boat ramp area. This simple step helps prevent the inadvertent spread of invasive species to other water bodies.

The annual treatment of public ponds is part of Delaware’s broader efforts to manage invasive species and protect natural resources. As water temperatures rise, DNREC remains vigilant, ensuring that the state’s waterways are safe and enjoyable for all.

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