The State of Idaho announced at the Western Aquatic Plant Management Society (www.wapms.org) meeting in Lake Tahoe this week that they had found and begun treatment of a Hydrilla infestation on the Bruneau River in Southwest Idaho. This is particularly dangerous find as this river runs north into the Snake River at the Strike Reservoir. The Snake River runs north along the border of Oregon and Idaho into Washington State where it discharges into the Columbia River in the Tri Cities area.
These two large western river system are critical habitat for endangered salmon and supply water for a number of irrigation districts that the nation relies on for food production. When Hydrilla was first discovered in the Western United States in the Imperial Irrigation District in Southern California, water flow to the crops was severely impacted.
As this weed spreads by fragment and turrions, it is probable that some downstream movement has occurred. States downstream from this find should be aware of this looming problem and begin survey efforts to locate any additional infestations. This has the potential to behave like Eurasian Milfoil did in the late 1970’s where infestations spread the length of the river system and moved to inland lakes.
For more information including Idaho’s response plan:
For information on a program to combat Hydrilla in a similar situation developed by Aquatechnex go to: