Aquatic nuisance species discovered in city's Black Bob Park Pond last year
PRATT -- In 2008, biologists with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) discovered hydrilla in Olathe's Black Bob Park Pond. A native of Asia, hydrilla is considered an aquatic nuisance species (ANS) in Kansas. Hydrilla seriously interferes with boating, both recreational and commercial, and hampers swimming and fishing. Major infestations can limit sportfish weight and size. In addition, hydrilla greatly slows water flow and clogs irrigation and flood-control canals. When hydrilla invades, ecologically-important native submersed plants are shaded out by hydrilla's thick mats or are simply out-competed and eliminated.

For these reasons, KDWP, in cooperation with the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) and the city of Olathe, developed a plan to eradicate hydrilla from the lake. With funding from KDA, Olathe city workers began applying the chemical floridone in the lake in an attempt to eliminate hydrilla. Three applications of floridone will be made this summer, and KDWP staff having been monitoring the lake for signs of success. After the first application, control seems to be under way. Time will tell if the effort is working.

"It looks like we've been pretty successful so far," says KDWP aquatic nuisance species specialist Jason Goeckler. "But this plant reproduces from tubers buried in the mud, so we'll have to wait and see."

Hydrilla is a submersed plant with long, slender stems that branch and spread across the water surface. Leaves are small, pointed, and arranged in whorls of four to eight along the stem. Leaf margins are distinctly saw-toothed, so the plant is noticeably rough to the touch when pulled through the hand. Pictures of hydrilla may be found on the KDWP website, www.kdwp.state.ks.us. Just type "hydrilla" in the search box.

Hydrilla spreads to new waters mainly as fragments on boats and trailers, so to prevent its spread, boaters and anglers must be vigilant about cleaning equipment when moving from one body of water to another.
Anyone who discovers hydrilla should note the date and location and contact a local Kansas Department of Agriculture office, the KDWP Emporia Research Office at 620-342-0658, or email Goeckler at jasong@wp.state.ks.us.