Invasive plant species threatens to take over Coventry Lake

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COVENTRY--An invasive species threatens to take over one of Connecticut's most popular lakes.

Hydrilla, a fast growing, very highly invasive aquatic plant, appears to be in Coventry Lake.

A UConn field trip made the discovery near the public boat dock, but that's not where it's growing.  Strands of the plant floated down to the bottom.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection plans to survey the shallow areas of the nearly 400-acre lake to find the origin of growth, and then will come up with a plan to get rid of it.

"If they do take hold, their populations can reach very, very high levels, they can crowd out native vegetation," DEEP Bureau Chief Bill Hyatt said.  "And affect everything right up through the food chain in the lake."

DEEP said it's stepped up state inspections of boats and trailers at the lake because that's often how Hydrilla spreads from one body of water to another--by hitching a ride.

DEEP is asking people to clean, drain and dry their boats after boating.