The New Jersey Water Supply Authority is responsible for maintaining a dependable uninterrupted supply of water, up to 100 million gallons a day, through the Delaware & Raritan Canal (D&R Canal) to customers along the Canalís 60 mile length. The D&R Canal water transmission complex is owned by the State of New Jersey and operated by the Authority. In the summer of 2016, the Authority had extreme difficulty passing water through the canal to its customers because of aquatic plants.
Aquatic plants are an ongoing and increasing concern for operations and maintenance of the Canal, including dense beds of native plants. These thick weed mats reduce water flow, impair water quality, block sunlight, reduce dissolved oxygen, inhibit recreational activities, and impact habitat for fish, waterfowl and other wildlife within the Canal environment.
Of greatest concern is the discovery of the aggressive emergent invasive, hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata).
Hydrilla is named after Hydra, the 9-headed serpent of Greek mythology, because it can grow an entirely new plant from a tiny stem fragment.