Summary: The exoTic planT hydrilla was esTablished
in Florida waters during the 1960s and has
since spread across much of the United States.
However, it has proved especially preva
lent in the state where it all began. In Flori
da's shallow lakes, hydrilla can cover nearly
the entire surface area in a short time.
Exotic species have the potential to replace
native plants and animals, rightly causing
concern for biologists and the public. Over the
past 25 years, the state of Florida has spent ap
proximately $174 million to control hydrilla.
Given the cost of control measures, we need to
fully understand any negative -- and positive
-- impacts of exotic species like hydrilla.
Hydrilla can have beneficial effects for
fish and wildlife. Substantial research has
shown that moderate hydrilla coverage (say,
10 to 60 percent) of lake surface area pro
vides quality habitat for bass and high catch