Hydrilla, a highly invasive non-native plant, has been found in the Deep River, covering a 90-acre area in Moore, Chatham, and Lee counties. Is it a precursor of future problems on this piedmont river inhabited in its headwaters by brown and rainbow trout? Time may tell. As hydrilla is a really sticky wicket once it finds a home.
The plant creates dense mats of stems and leaves on the water’s surface, crowding out native vegetation, making boating difficult and potentially harming fish, birds and aquatic organisms. Its impact can be significant both economically and ecologically, as treatment and control are expensive.
N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is asking people who boat, fish or swim in the river to help prevent the plant’s spread by cleaning all equipment of aquatic plants, animals and mud; draining water from boats, livewells, bait buckets, and other equipment; and drying all equipment thoroughly.
The Wildlife Commission will work with N.C. Aquatic Weed Program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies and stakeholders to develop a management plan for hydrilla that will prevent its spread and address already infested areas. Learn more at www.ncwildlife.org/Fishing/ANS.