Water Chestnut in the Waterways of Wayne County

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Water ChestnutWater chestnut (Trapa natans) can be found this time of year in many of the waterways in Wayne County.  The newest infestation was found in 2018 at Port Bay and is being managed strictly by hand-pulling.  It is major nuisance because these dense mats of rooted vegetation are very difficult to get through in a boat, kayak, canoe, or when swimming. For water quality alone, Water Chestnut completely depletes the oxygen by pressing down from the surface, heating the water columns, and prohibiting water movement because of the long-rooted tendrils beneath the rosette.  Water chestnut spreads by rosette and fruits detaching from the stem and floating to another area and by clinging to floating objects including recreational watercraft, the pads of boat trailers, and fishing equipment. In addition, the dense mats shade out native aquatic plants that provide food and shelter to native fish, waterfowl, and insects. Decomposition of these dense mats causes dissolved oxygen levels that may kill fish and then nutrient recycling causes the next generation to return stronger than before.

#waterqualityupdates #waterchestnut #invasivespecies

What you need to know about Water Chestnut:

*In NY, Water Chestnut is an annual. It does not propagate from fragmentation and can have up to 3 stands in NY

*1 Seed Pod can produce up to 144 plants and stays viable for up to 10 years and even if dislodged and floating can still repropagate.

stem and pod

Water Chestnut Seed Pods

Water Chestnut Seed Pods

*Management techniques vary by waterbody but harvesting this Annual Plant by hand pulling or mechanically the rosette before they produce their seed, mitigates several next generations and will open up waterways for other native vegetation to return creating habitat and flow for better water quality

Currently, New York State Parks Recreation & Historic Preservation & Finger Lakes Partners of Regional Invasive Species Management are partnering with the District to address several areas that cannot be managed by mechanical harvesting in Wayne County to hand-pull under NYSDEC permits. It will take years of management to address some of the seedbeds in Wayne County. Some of the oldest “seedbeds” of water chestnut include East Bay, South of Sodus Bay Bridge, and Second Creek. Thank you to SOS and SBIA for continued efforts in addressing stands on Second Creek, the inlet at the end of Grieg Street in Sodus Point, and Clark Creek.  Without partnership, management would not be possible.

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