MINETTO NY – Caitlin Smith, a student at ESF, works at removing invasive Water Chestnuts from the Oswego River/Canal at Minetto.
As part of her school recommendations and her personal interest in environmental stewardship, she has volunteered to help pick the Water Chestnuts.
The Water Chestnut a non-native plant, that invades and takes over where native plants, necessary for wildlife, are replaced.
Also, quantities that break up at the end of the season, drifting in the river, can cause clogging of water intakes of machinery using river water.
Each plant has a pod that contains approximately 20 seeds that will spread and germinate.
Masses of the plant form a large floating dense carpet which prohibit passage through them.
Caught in the early stages, hand picking can help prohibit the continued expansion of the Water Chestnuts.
Certain areas of the Oswego River already have acres of the Water Chestnut that can be viewed.
In two years, the Battle Island area has seen a proliferation which prohibits the passage of recreational fishing boats, canoes and kayaks in the adjoining channels of the canal.
Oswego County Soil and Water Conservation District is working on trying to eradicate this aggressive plant species.