Hydrilla is a devastating invasive aquatic plant that is choking the Connecticut River and creeping into its tributaries and coves. Hydrilla forms dense mats of vegetation (see photo below) that cut off oxygen so that other plants and creatures are robbed of their natural habitats. For all who live near or enjoy the Connecticut River, this is a major concern, which is why I'm making it a priority this coming legislative session.
Earlier this week, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) made funding available for projects to reduce the effects of aquatic invasive species like hydrilla on inland waters of Connecticut. This funding was made possible by legislation I helped pass in the General Assembly in 2019 which established an Aquatic Invasive Species Stamp fee. The fee applies to boats registered in Connecticut as well as to boats registered outside of Connecticut but which use our state's inland waterways. Right now, almost $400,000 is available from this program to help combat these invasive species.
While this is certainly a positive step, there is more that we could and should do. As Vice Chair of the Legislature’s Environment Committee, I am working with DEEP, the Connecticut River Conservancy, the Connecticut Resource Conservation & Development, the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments (RiverCOG), the Agriculture Experiment Station, the Gateway Commission, and local biologists, marinas, environmentalists and advocates, on legislation I hope to introduce next year.
If you would like to participate in our informal hydrilla working group, I encourage you to get involved by emailing me at: Christine.email@example.com.
To read more about this program and how it works, CLICK HERE.