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Posted on: March 5, 2019

Public meeting on status of hydrilla management project in the Eno River watershed

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The status of an on-going project to reduce the invasive weed hydrilla in the Eno River watershed with an EPA-approved herbicide will be discussed at a public information meeting to be held on March 21st, 2019.

The informal, open house-style meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Room 250 of the Richard E. Whitted Building (300 West Tryon Street, Hillsborough). Members of the Eno River Hydrilla Management Task Force will describe efforts that were initiated in 2015 to manage the infestation of hydrilla in the Eno River. Task Force members will also be available to answer questions at informational stations.

Hydrilla is a submerged aquatic plant that can create nearly impenetrable mats of stems and leaves in lakes, rivers and other waterways. An invasive species from Asia, hydrilla impedes recreational use of waterways, crowds out native vegetation and ultimately can harm fish and other aquatic and bird species. The plant was first discovered in the Eno River watershed in the early 1990s in Lake Orange.

In 2015, the task force introduced the herbicide fluridone in a 16-mile treatment zone largely within Eno River State Park in Orange and Durham counties. It was the first time the herbicide was used successfully to combat hydrilla in a North Carolina river, although it has been used successfully for many years in large lakes. The herbicide is applied at a concentration well within limits approved by the US EPA – a concentration that is both safe for swimmers and boaters and non-toxic to fish and wildlife.

The Eno River Hydrilla Management Task Force comprises federal, state and local government representatives, including those from N.C. State Parks, the N.C. Division of Water Resources Aquatic Weed Control Program and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. The group has been working since 2007 to evaluate and address the hydrilla threat in the Eno River.