What Lies Beneath?

By: Jennifer Ryan
By: Jennifer Ryan

You've likely seen it before in small doses, but over time, this menacing weed can completely destroy a beautiful aquatic realm such as Wakulla Springs.

Hydrilla is one of the world's worst weeds. It’s a weed that was foreign to this waterway, at least until 1997.

Sandy Cook, the park manager, says, "Hydrilla is from Asia. It has no natural enemies."

It has no allies either because hydrilla chokes everything in its path. It's become so invasive, even humans are at risk.

Scott Sabery, a park biologist, says, "The swimmers get tangled; people swim over it, put feet down, get tangled and panic!"

Over the past eight years, biologists have tried everything to kill it, from hand picking to herbicide treatment, which is effective. All the hydrilla will be zapped out in the next two weeks.

Jess Vandyke, a DEP biologist, says, "It kills them. The river looks good for growing season and we may have to do it again next spring."

Until then, it's a simple 48-hour drip, a small herbicide treatment to preserve a 250 million gallon body of water.

Park biologists say the swimming area will be closed until the treatment is complete. They hope to wrap up by Friday afternoon.


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