A task force of federal, state and local officials has begun treating a 16-mile stretch of the Eno River in Orange and Durham counties with an herbicide that they hope will kill the invasive plant hydrilla.
The Eno River Hydrilla Management Task Force hired SePRO Corporation to apply the herbicide fluridone to the river between Lawrence Road in Orange County and Roxboro Road in Durham, including Eno River State Park. The treatments began Friday and are scheduled to continue through the end of September.
Hydrilla is a submerged spiny plant from Asia that grows in tight mats, becoming a nuisance for boaters, swimmers and recreational fishermen. It often suffocates native vegetation and animals such as mussels, snails and fish and can clog intake pipes for drinking water and irrigation.
The plant was first discovered in Eno River State Park in 2005, and the task force was formed to study and combat it two years later.
Removing the plants by hand doesn’t work well, because hydrilla grows so fast. Eno River State Park organized a volunteer project to weed out a section of the Eno in 2011, but a month later the river was inundated again.
The task force says the herbicide will be applied in an EPA-approved concentration that is safe for swimmers and boaters and non-toxic to fish and wildlife.