Hydrilla in Cayuga Lake

The Cayuga Lake Watershed Network will be hosting the Hydrilla in Cayuga Lake 2023 Annual Updates and Panel Discussion via zoom on December 18, 2023 from 12:00-2:00 pm.  Please join us to learn and ask questions about Hydrilla and the challenges it presents to Cayuga Lake, as well as the current management strategies.  Presenters include Sam-Beck Anderson from the Finger Lakes Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management, Richard Ruby from the United States Army Corps of Engineers and Cathy McGlynn from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.  To register, click here .

2023 End of year Hydrilla Public Session
2023 End of year Hydrilla Public Session Image



The Water Bulletin: The Newsletter of the Community Science Institute

The Community Science Institute (CSI) has released its Fall 2019 edition of “The Water Bulletin: The Newsletter of the Community Science Institute”  This newsletter highlights that work of CSI and the dedicated volunteers they partner with to monitor harmful algal blooms (HABs) on Cayuga Lake and the water quality of tributary streams in the Cayuga Lake Watershed.  The newsletter is available at http://www.communityscience.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Water-Bulletin-Fall-2019-E-edition-1.pdf ​.

Hydrilla Hunt 2019

This is an urgent request – please reply if you can assist!

The Cayuga Lake Watershed Network needs your help checking shoreline and dock areas for hydrilla, around Cayuga Lake, from October 19 – 31.

Hydrilla Hunter

In recent weeks, hydrilla infestations have been found at new sites around the southern third of the lake, most recently at the marina in Lansing and near the mouth of Cayuga Inlet in Ithaca.

Right now is the time hydrilla makes its presence known visibly at the water surface. They need a team of people checking the shoreline, around their docks and launches, and in shallow water from October 19-31 (or later, if interested).

Could you help? It would take one to two hours of your time on one or two dates of your choice.  The Cayuga Lake Watershed Network will provide you with lake rakes and hydrilla i.d. kits and collection bags and give you simple instructions on how to report suspects to invasive plants experts.

If you are interested, please let them know – quickly! Contact Jenn at programs@cayugalake.org 

This is a serious situation – hydrilla is beginning to show up in new and unexpected places. We do not want to it to spread. Help find it early, before it takes hold and expands rapidly.

PLEASE help – just this once, or on a regular basis.

More information about hydrilla, the top aquatic invasive plant: http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/lands_forests_pdf/hydrillafs.pdf

For more information on the Cayuga Watershed Nework:  www.cayugalake.org

Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program reports now available

The Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program (CSLAP) is a partnership between the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), New York State Federation and Lake Associations (NYSFOLA), and lake residents who help monitor and collect critical lake data. The data collected through the program is used to identify water quality issues, detect seasonal and long term patterns, and inform volunteers and lake residents about water quality conditions in their lake.


Cayuga County provides part of their Finger Lakes Lake Ontario Watershed Protection Alliance (FLLOWPA) funding to assist Lake Como and Duck Lake in their CSLAP programs.  The funding for Owasco, Cayuga and Skaneateles Lakes in 2017 was provided by the NYS Environmental Protection Fund-Ocean and Great Lakes Program.  The work is conducted by hardworking volunteers who donate their time to and resources to collect the samples.


2017 CSLAP reports for Cayuga County lakes are available on the NYSDEC website at https://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/77882.html.  Lakes that have reports available are Cayuga Lake, Duck Lake, Lake Como, Owasco Lake and Skaneateles Lake.  The Finger Lakes Water Quality Report is also available on that page.

Learn About Hydrilla

Hydrilla is an extremely aggressive aquatic plant that has the ability to grow up to a foot a day.  The thick, dense mats it forms obstructs boating, swimming and fishing.  Its invasiveness growth blocks sunlight that kills native plants and its excessive presence reduces oxygen in the water that can alter fish habitat.  Waterfowl feeding areas and fish spawning sites are at risk of elimination with Hydrilla overabundance and water treatment, power generation and industrial facilities can sustain damage when intakes are blocked.  Extreme and stubborn Hydrilla in an area can also lower the value of waterfront property.

The on-going fight against Hydrilla growing in Cayuga Lake in areas near Cayuga County has been underway now since 2017.  This year’s treatment began in late June 2018.  The approximate 60-day treatment plan includes a slow release of the herbicide fluridone through pellets applied below the water surface.  The fluridone is absorbed into the plant’s roots and ultimately disrupts the plant’s ability to use light during its photosynthesis process. Throughout the course of treatment, there are no health risks to residents who draw their water from Cayuga Lake.  For more information on Hydrilla and Fluridone, please visit the Cayuga County Health Department’s website at:  http://www.cayugacounty.us/Community/Health/Environmental-Health/Hydrilla.   

The team from the Army Corps of Engineers leading the efforts on Cayuga Lake are reporting success with a noticeably reduced amount of Hydrilla throughout the treatment area.  The persistent nature of the plant however will mandate some form of management in the years to come.  

Early treatment is necessary in stopping the spread of Hydrilla.  In addition to scientific treatment strategies, the public too will be instrumental in identifying Hydrilla before it becomes too widespread making treatment impossible.  Residents should learn what the plant looks like and, when in the water, be on the lookout for it. For more information on how to identify and report possible Hydrilla infestations in Cayuga Lake, go to http://www.cayugalake.org/hydrillahunters.html. To report Hydrilla in other County lakes, send an email to isinfo@dec.ny.gov or call 518-402-9405.

In addition, strands of Hydrilla can attach to boats and other equipment and is then transplanted to other areas and lakes if not appropriately cleaned off.  Residents should carefully remove any aquatic vegetation, no matter how small, from water crafts when leaving any water body to be sure they are not transporting Hydrilla or other invasive species from one lake to another.

You can also learn more about invasive species here.






Harmful Algal Blooms Surveillance 2018

As the summer progresses, so does the possibility that harmful algal blooms will impact our County’s waterbodies. To learn more about harmful algal blooms, go here.

Two of our Finger Lakes currently are conducting surveillance for harmful algal blooms. The Owasco Watershed Lake Association, Owasco Watershed Inspection Program and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation are conducting a lake-wide surveillance program for Owasco Lake and information on that program can be found here. The Cayuga Lake Watershed Network, Discover Cayuga Lake and the Community Science Institute are also conducting the HABs Harriers Monitoring Program for Cayuga Lake and information on that program can be found here here.

For other waterbodies in the County, harmful algal blooms can be reported to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on their website.