Water chestnut eradication update

Volunteer Jason Novak

In early July ECC has began an attack on the rapidly spreading Water Chestnuts across from the Saugerties Beach. For the past four Saturdays a Water Chestnut Working Group gathered to work on this project and we have been meeting to gauge what has worked and what hasn’t. We have purchased a Lake Mower (see lakemower.com to learn how it works, or should work). We’re still experimenting with the best type of boat and out-board motor to use with the Lake Mower.

As with most things in life, there’s a steep learning curve and this was never more true than attempting a water chestnut eradication project. What have we learned so far? It’s critical to start cutting early before the plant’s stems thicken and they sprout copious and intertwined heads. This year’s warm winter and spring gave the plants an early and rapid start. So even the Lake Mower and it’s powerful cutting apparatus was not able to easily cut through them. Next year we’ll be ready for them.

However, we haven’t given up; we have simply adjusted our sights on a more limited project for this year. We have cut a path through a very thick blanket of Water Chestnuts to the area near the shore of Esopus Bend Nature Preserve. We did this so that we may work to cut the new plants in open water that are closest to the Preserve and Wetland areas to prevent them from dropping seeds. It was slow going but we did cut a decent channel last Saturday so the Wetlands are accessible. This coming Sunday we plan to work there.

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So, we are inviting one and all to please join us this coming Sunday, August 12th, between 8 AM and 11 AM at the Village Beach. If you do come please bring a cutting implement such as garden clippers. A canoe is more useful than a kayak because it holds more cut plants but a Kayak is also useful because we will have jon-boats on which to throw cut plants. (We are not pulling up the roots, just cutting off the tops.) All the volunteers who have worked really hard over the month of July would greatly appreciate some extra hands for this (hopefully) last hand-cutting effort for the season.

Refreshments will be served before during and after cutting.

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