KENNEWICK, Wash. - Columbia Basin Dive Rescue Public Information Officer Scott Pattison said over the years more and more milfoil has been growing in the Columbia River.
Across the country there have more reports of it growing in lakes and rivers, causing problems for boaters and swimmers.
Saturday morning emergency crews in Kennewick discovered the body of 22-year-old Maxwell McCain of Everett. He apparently went swimming with friends Friday night and did not make it out of the river alive.
Pattison said that it is unclear exactly what caused McCain to drown, but thinks the large amount of milfoil in the river might have played a part in the accident.
McCain drowned when it was dark out and authorities think he might have come across the dark green, slimy aquatic plant by mistake, which could have caused him to panic while in the water.
It is believed that milfoil was brought into the country from Europe and Asia through personal aquariums. A number of reports indicate that milfoil was in the tanks that were brought into the country, and then the owners would dump the tank water into a lake or river, causing the plant to grow in our environment. The milfoil grows and spreads very rapidly.
States across the country have spent millions of dollars trying to get rid of the invasive water plant.