Call for volunteers to clear water chestnuts from Chodikee Lake

Volunteers from a recent Chodikee Lake clean-up take a break beside the water chestnut plants they pulled. (L-R): Tom Cowan, Roberta Forest, Bart, Jack Maguire and Bud Hossenlopp.

Volunteers from a recent Chodikee Lake clean-up take a break beside the water chestnut plants they pulled. (L-R): Tom Cowan, Roberta Forest, Bart, Jack Maguire and Bud Hossenlopp.

The Lloyd Environmental Conservation Council (ECC) and the Adirondack Mountain Club are sponsoring a gathering of paddlers to pull water chestnuts out of Chodikee Lake this Sunday, September 13. The pulling involves light work from either a kayak or canoe (kayak loads will be transferred to canoes). Volunteers will meet at 10:30 a.m. at the Department of Conservation launch on the west side of Chodikee Lake.

More commonly known as an ingredient in Chinese food, water chestnuts are starting to aggressively invade the shallow parts of Chodikee Lake, crowding out local plants and covering the surface. The chestnuts grow rapidly and, if not pulled out, could soon completely blanket large areas along the shoreline and blur the distinction between land and water. In addition to threatening Chodikee Lake, they could ultimately cause significant damage to the Black Creek that goes into and out of the lake, blocking navigability and severely impacting the ecological health of this now pristine waterway.

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“The most effective way to control the spread of water chestnuts is by citizen watch,” said Jack Maguire, ECC chair. “This means if you’re out on the water in a canoe or kayak and see a plant, pull it out. You might even make chestnut-pulling the purpose of your trip. They are easy to spot and to pull. First you see a floating roseate of one-to-two-inch leaves, the whole thing a few inches to a foot across. You pull it up, which takes very little effort, and you see tubers and runners and maybe a pod with barbed spines. Pulled plants are best left to rot on dry land where there is no chance they will fall back into water.”

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