The latest info on plant pests, pathogens, and weeds.

Hydrilla in Hobomock Pond

The invasive plant Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) was discovered this past summer in Hobomock Pond in Pembroke, Massachusetts, only the second known site in our state. A volunteer from the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Weed Watchers Program made the discovery in August and contacted DCR biologists, who confirmed the identification. A survey of the pond found it to be heavily infested. State biologists also surveyed the nearby Furnace Pond, Little Sandy Bottom Pond, Great Sandy Bottom Pond, Mill Pond, Stetson Pond, and Oldham Pond, but did not detect any Hydrilla.

Hydrilla is an extremely aggressive, non-native aquatic plant that has devastated waters in Florida and other southern areas with its lake-choking growth. To date, it has been documented at only one other Massachusetts location, in a pond in Barnstable.

DCR Lakes and Ponds staff have already begun working with the Massachusetts Aquatic Invasive Species Working Group, the Pembroke Ponds Watershed Association, and the Pembroke Conservation Commission to develop and execute a response plan to manage and, it is hoped, eradicate the Hydrilla in Hobomock Pond and prevent its spread.

“The detection of this invasive plant is an excellent example of what can be accomplished through education and partnership with concerned citizens at the local level,” said DCR Commissioner Richard K. Sullivan Jr. “It reinforces the benefit of investing in a group of citizens to help DCR with its mission by serving as the agency’s eyes and ears at lakes and ponds across the state. We are deeply grateful for the help from a private citizen in this particular case.”

Weed Watchers training is a free service provided by DCR to lake associations and other concerned groups. A key goal is to prevent infestation of Massachusetts’s lakes and ponds by non-native, invasive aquatic plants, and to work toward controlling and removing existing populations of invasives. The program trains local groups to monitor their lakes and ponds and to develop a removal plan if an infestation is found.

To find out more about how you can become a Weed Watcher, click here.

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