Say Goodbye to Hydrilla: Delaware Takes Action to Protect Waterways

HydrillaHydrilla is an invasive aquatic weed that, if not kept under control, can choke ponds while crowding out beneficial plant species that comprise fertile fish habitat. Photo: USFWS

DELAWARE — With inland water temperatures rising and aquatic plants emerging, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will begin treating certain downstate public ponds for the foreign invasive aquatic weed hydrilla starting May 29, weather permitting. Hydrilla is a non-native plant that likely entered the state through the aquarium trade. Uncontrolled hydrilla can choke ponds and other waterways, crowding out beneficial plant species and preventing fishing and boating access.

Ponds to be treated this year by the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife are Griffiths Lake, Tub Mill Pond, and Abbotts Mill Pond, all near Milford. Signs will be posted at the boat ramp of each pond on the day of treatment

Sonar, an aquatic herbicide containing fluridone, will be used to treat the ponds for Hydrilla. Sonar, registered and approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has been applied in Delaware since the 1980s and has proven to be environmentally compatible and effective for controlling hydrilla. Sonar does not pose a threat to wildlife, including fish, and there no restrictions on fishing or the consumption of fish caught from waters where the treatment has been applied.

The only special restriction is for not using water from the treated ponds for irrigation for 30 days after the date of treatment. Residents and farmers whose properties are along and directly downstream of treated ponds should not use the water to irrigate their gardens, lawns, or agricultural lands during that period to avoid possible damage to their plantings. Landowners with permits to use water from these ponds for irrigation will be directly notified before treatment.

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To prevent the spread of hydrilla and other invasive aquatic vegetation throughout the year, anglers and boaters are encouraged to remove all hydrilla and other aquatic plants from their boats, trailers and gear before leaving the boat ramp area from the ponds to be treated.

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