by Andrew Henderson
The Oswego County Water and Soil Conservation District is once again going to attack invasive plants, including the water chestnut plant, along the Oswego River this summer.
“The water chestnut plant is an invasive species that, once established, can significantly reduce the quality of the native habitat, impede recreational use of waterways, and interfere with terrestrial ecosystems,” said John DeHollander, district manager of the Oswego County Soil and Water Conservation District.
“Water chestnut is present in shallow areas of the lower Salmon River Estuary as well as in sections of the Oswego River.”
It is difficult to slow the spread of water chestnut once it becomes established in a shallow water area. Volunteers have successfully led hand-pull efforts over the past several summers to remove the plant from sections of the Oswego River as well as the Salmon River Estuary.
The plants can create large floating mats of vegetation that restrict the penetration of sunlight, limit the growth of native plants, and disrupt the food web. Each water chestnut plant can produce up to 300 nuts per year.
The Soil and Water Conservation District applied a chemical treatment to more than 200 acres of water chestnut plants on the Oswego River last year. The agency plans to use a chemical treatment on the Oswego River again this summer.
Up north, volunteers, river guides, and members of local environmental organizations will gather Saturday, July 13 at the Pine Grove Boat Launch near Selkirk Shores State Park for a community water chestnut pull on the Salmon River Estuary. From 8:30 to 9:15 a.m., members of the St. Lawrence Eastern Lake Ontario Partnership for Regional Invasive Species will lead a session on how to identify common invasive species and monitor their presence in waterways and on land.
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