CRCOG sponsored a workshop on June 19th on dealing with the growing problem of invasive aquatic plants in the Connecticut River. The workshop focused on Hydrilla which is among the most troublesome invasive aquatic plants and has become common in the Connecticut River, choking portions of the river and coves. Hydrilla grows rapidly and its thick mats can impede boat access, choke out native vegetation, and impact fish populations. Controlling Hydrilla and other invasive aquatic plants can be expensive but ignoring the problem can be even more costly.
The featured speaker, Greg Bugbee, an aquatic scientist from the Connecticut Agricultural Extension Service (CAES), briefed local and state officials on the problem. To view Mr. Bugbee’s full presentation, please click here. He described his efforts to survey and document the extent of the infestation so that management options can be determined. Eric Trott, Coventry Town Planner, provided a local prospective on dealing with an Hydrilla infestation in Coventry Lake which is costing over $100,000 annually to manage. Jeanne Davies of Connecticut Resource Conservation & Development (CTRC&D) proposed an Environmental Team Review (ERT) approach to initiating efforts to come to terms with this issue. Presenters agreed that a collaborative approach is needed. CRCOG towns along the Connecticut River are encouraged to participate in filing an application for an ERT to bring greater attention to the problem, facilitiate collaboration, and look for funding opportunities to support further study and management of the issue.