Volunteers Needed To Search For Invasive Water Chestnut

MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County Executive Gregory J. Edwards and Chautauqua County Watershed Coordinator Jeff Diers announced that a mass search for the invasive water chestnut will be held on Saturday, July 20, at 8 a.m. at the Stow Park landing of the Bemus Point-Stow Ferry.

“I encourage all available residents with access to boats, kayaks and water boots to come out and help search for this invasive species before it establishes itself permanently in Chautauqua Lake,” said Edwards.

Last summer local volunteers conducted several searches of the 42 miles of shoreline along Chautauqua Lake and 17 water chestnut plants were successfully removed from the lake near Bemus Creek and the mouth of the Chadakoin River.

Water chestnut is a rooted, aquatic annual plant that can reach up to 15 feet in length and has a rosette of floating leaves, which are green, glossy and triangular with toothed edges. The water chestnut can produce up to 15 nutlets per season and each individual nutlet has the potential to produce up to 5 individual plants. Each of these individual plants can then produce an additional 15 nutlets, creating a total of 75 nutlets annually. Once established, water chestnuts can form dense floating mats that can negatively impact the aquatic ecosystem and recreational activities on the lake.

“The ability of water chestnuts to rapidly spread poses a potential threat to Chautauqua Lake,” said Diers. “In order to prevent the plants from spreading we need to ensure they are not left to grow and are properly eradicated.”

Individuals interested in participating in the mass search should report to the Stow Ferry Park where they will be given a short presentation on the water chestnut before being assigned to a zone. Volunteers should also call the watershed hotline at 363-4499, 753-4499 or 661-7499 for more information.

In addition, anyone who finds this invasive species should contact Diers at 661-8915 or call the watershed hotline and leave their name, phone number and the location of the sighting. If spotted, please do not remove these plants as experts need to analyze their location and properly remove them.