Published: 2017-03-18 08:58:00
Updated: 2017-06-02 14:08:47
Posted March 18
Updated June 2
By Sharon Nunn / WRAL-UNC Fellow 2017
Hillsborough, N.C. — Under the often rapidly moving waters of the Eno River, an invasive plant moves silently, affecting personal ponds and more stagnant bodies of water. And lawmakers in Raleigh took notice, using a new chemical in the Eno waters they called successful.
Hydrilla, an Asian-native aquatic plant, clogs the waterway, crowding out native aquatic plant species and also destroys the habitats of larger fish.
Its thin, green-spiked spines make their way to the bottom of some Eno-connected bodies of water.
In response, lawmakers started the Eno River Hydrilla Management Task Force, which included the use of an EPA-approved aquatic herbicide called Fluridone. They’re now calling it successful and planning to use it further upstream this summer.
The Eno flows into Falls Lake. If the hydrilla were to get into Falls Lake, that's Raleigh’s water supply, and it can cause maintenance problems and can drive up the cost of treating the drinking water.
Terry Hackett, Town of Hillsborough
Terry Hackett, stormwater and environmental services manager for the Town of Hillsborough, said the dosage is so low that people can swim and cook and eat the fish they catch in the treated waters, and pets swimming in the water would not be harmed either.
Hackett said Hyrdilla in the Eno and other areas of the United States probably came from a fish tank.
“As people flushed that stuff or dumped it, it got into our waterways and it's spreading across the country,” Hackett said.
From there, it can grow easily. Tom Davis, the water resources coordinator for Orange County, said it often only takes a small piece of the plant to take root in a new place, usually through animals, like turtles, or boats and fishermen.
“If people can be aware of how it gets moved around and try to minimize the movement it can help greatly,” Davis said.