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Nature Center Reports on Progress with Invasive Species Control | Community Spirit

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Nature Center Reports on Progress with Invasive Species Control
Nature Center Reports on Progress with Invasive Species Control

Jamestown, NY – July 12-18 is New York State Invasive Species Awareness Week, and it will be a time of additional activity at the Audubon Nature Center.

The Nature Center is a part of a large regional effort to locate and remove any pockets of the invasive species Water Chestnut before it spreads to other area waterways.  The Conewango Watershed Association and interested volunteers are monitoring along the Conewango and Allegheny rivers in New York and Pennsylvania.  The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is looking in the Conewango Swamp Wildlife Management Area where plants were reported last year.

Kayakers discovered plants in the Outlet of Chautauqua Lake in June.  As Water Chestnut could be extremely difficult to boat or swim through, efforts must be made to find and remove it wherever it appears.

The first known plant infestation was at the Audubon Nature Center.  Since 2012, efforts have been undertaken to kill or remove the plants.  Unfortunately, the hoped-for impact of the cold winters did not materialize.  Scores of volunteers have spent hundreds of hours hand-pulling the plants.  In the three years, a significant improvement has been seen in Spatterdock Pond, but the larger Big Pond continues to have a dense mat of Water Chestnut in its interior. 

Due to the urgency, the Nature Center has sought assistance to keep the Water Chestnut from spreading to other waterbodies in the region.  President Ruth Lundin reports that initially the organization reached out to the Chautauqua Lake Association to see if mechanical harvesting would work.  The CLA was willing to assist by providing equipment, but when they saw the location of the plants, they said it would be impossible to work in such shallow water with so many snags. 

The remaining option is an herbicide treatment.  Working with the Department of Environmental Conservation, a permit to apply herbicide was sought and approved.  Most recently, the Department also approved an Emergency Authorization, which is the final step necessary for permission to apply herbicide to the plants. 

The only way to apply herbicide in Big Pond is by using an airboat, so the final need was funding.  Senator Kathy Young has provided a Local Assistance Grant for Invasive Species control to provide funding for the application, which is far more expensive than the Nature Center could afford. 

The result of this effort is that the densest mats of Water Chestnut will be sprayed by a professional applicator with Rodeo, the commercial name for Glyphosate, during the week of July 13.  The actual day will depend on the weather. 

While the Nature Center will remain open during the application, certain trails will be closed.  These will be clearly marked and anyone wanting further information can check in at the Nature Center before going out on the trails. 

Following the treatment, volunteers will once again man kayaks and don waders to pull plants that remain. Hand pulling will continue in areas with mixed vegetation, so that it will be easier for the native plants to repopulate once the smothering cover of Water Chestnut is removed.

For information on how you can participate in Water Chestnut removal at the Audubon Nature Center, call (716) 569-2345 or visit www.jamestownaudubon.org and click on “Waterchestnut Pulls.”  


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