Environmental officials said they found a highly invasive plant in the main stem of the Connecticut River in Glastonbury.
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said hydrilla verticillata found several patched of the aquatic plant mixed among other plants near Glastonbury's Riverfront Park and Boathouse.
“Finding hydrilla in a publicly accessible portion of the state’s largest water body is a matter of serious concern,” said William Hyatt, DEEP’s chief of natural resources.
The plant is not native to the U.S. DEEP said it came into the country in the 1950s. Its source is unknown.
It aggressively forms dense mats of vegetation that displaces native plants, alters aquatic habitats and interferes with recreational activities.
The discovery in Glastonbury came after DEEP identified Hydrilla in a hard to reach portion of Keeney Cove. It was discovered in the cove by botanists participating in a "bioblitz" near Two Rivers Magnet School in East Hartford back in June.
"The Connecticut River traverses the length of the state from north to south, supports substantial recreational use and has numerous access points,” Hyatt said. “Managing this infestation will be exceedingly difficult."
Hyatt said DEEP believes the plant has been in the river for at least a couple of years. He said it was likely widely dispersed downstream of Hartford.
"As a result eradication is not practical," he said. "What we can do is educate boaters on what they need to do to reduce the risk of further spread.”
Until recently, DEEP said there were only a few water bodies in the state, like the Silvermine River from Norwalk to New Canaan, that had hydrilla. Last year, DEEP said it was found in Coventry Lake. It's still working to eradicate it there.
DEEP asked boaters, kayakers and fishermen to clean, dry and drain their equipment to prevent to spread of the plant.
More information about invasive plant species in the state can be found on DEEP's website here.
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