Efforts underway to keep boat ramps open at Cave Run Lake

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By Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife

A series of chemical treatments designed to keep boat ramps free of hydrilla at Cave Run Lake is now underway.

Hydrilla is an invasive aquatic weed that grows quickly, choking out other vegetation and impacting fish populations. First discovered in Cave Run Lake near Morehead in 2016, the weed quickly spread from Alfrey bank and Zilpo Flats to other areas of the lake.

Biologists believe the fragments of hydrilla hitch-hiked from a boat into the lake. Fragments attached to a boat can remain viable for five days after it is taken out of the water. Fragments as small as one inch have a 50 percent chance of survival in a new lake. Thick mats of hydrilla impede boating and can damage motors.

Treatments to eradicate hydrilla began last month around the Clay Lick, Warix, Alfrey and Zilpo boat ramps. The next treatment is scheduled for this week.

The pelletized compound applied from boat-mounted spreaders breaks down quickly after its initial application. It is not harmful to humans, pets, macroinvertebrates, reptiles, amphibians or fish. It will not affect water supplies.

Boaters will notice dead aquatic vegetation in treated areas. Due to the high cost of the chemical, however, only areas around boat ramps will receive the treatment.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources urges all boaters using Cave Run Lake to take a few precautions after taking their boat out of the water:

Inspect the boat, bilge, drywells, trailers, motors and all recreation equipment for plant fragments and remove them before leaving the area.

Drain livewells and bilge areas at the lake. Leave them open to dry.

Wait five days before launching your boat into a lake that does not have hydrilla.

If possible, steam clean your boat after leaving an infested lake.

For more information about stopping the spread of invasive species in Kentucky’s waterways, go online to stopaquatichitchhikers.org. n