Those expecting to see hydros ripping up and down the Columbia River Friday morning (July 23) for Columbia Cup testing had to wait a bit.

According to Hydro News, a massive 'drift' of milfoil came in during the night along the backstretch of the 2 plus mile course and required crews to head over and cut it loose.

It's presumed once free, it will float its way downstream away from the hydro course.

That was as of around 9AM.  Milfoil, obviously, doesn't agree with props on hydros or other forms of watercraft.

Image courtesy of Hydro News on Facebook.

milfoil delays hydro testing (Hydro News Facebook)
milfoil delays hydro testing (Hydro News Facebook)

Milfoil is not only a source of an irritant for boaters, swimmers, and others in the water, but they're harmful to the environment. Milfoil is formally known as Eurasian Milfoil.  Sources say it is not native to the US, but was brought here between the late 1800's and early 1900's. It varies in color, from green to brownish (seen in this picture from the state of Idaho).

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According to Federal wildlife and environmental agencies, it's considered an invasive species. When it's widespread, it creates 'mats' or layers of growth on or near the surface of the water, which interferes with normal biological processes for fish, and other vegetation. Especially in lakes, they are great places for mosquitos to flourish.

Was It Once Sold Commercially?

Perhaps hard to believe, but decades ago, milfoil was often sold as a household aquarium plant.

Even in the winter, when the milfoil dies off, it floats to the bottom of the bodies of water and rivers and creates layers that deplete oxygen levels.

There are a number of successful ways of ridding milfoil from lakes, but rivers are more difficult. The most common method is raking it up, but if you don't get the roots or particles are left over, it can return.

Some have tried introducing grass carp fish to areas to eat the plants, but often they will only eat the milfoil once other vegetation has been consumed.


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