State Workers, Volunteers, Fight Invasive "Water Chestnuts"

State Workers, Volunteers, Fight Invasive "Water Chestnuts"

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State workers from the Department of Environmental Conservation and volunteers spent Tuesday pulling water chestnut plants out of the Lakeview Marsh Wildlife Management Area in southern Jefferson County.

The plants may be pretty, but since they have no natural enemies, they have been taking over certain bodies of water.

"What happens is, we get this very large mat of water chestnut, which makes it so that the native plants cannot grow," said Irene Mazzocchi, a wildlife biologist with the Department of Environmental Conservation.

"So we don't have the native plants anymore and also, when they start they have these major mats, they have decomposition, lack of oxygen, so it's impacting the fish and other wildlife."

The work is labor intensive - the plants have to be pulled out by hand. State workers have been removing water chestnut plants from the marsh for five years, and they're making progress.

"You just basically are going to reach down and get as much of the root system out as you can. Pull it up, put it in here, the state collects them," said Steve Kowalski, owner of 'Angling Adventures Guide Service,' who was volunteering for the clean-up Tuesday.

Tuesday's clean-up was part of "Invasive Species Awareness Week."

According to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, "Invasive species week promotes public knowledge and understanding of invasive species and efforts to prevent their spreading. Invasive species affect all New Yorkers, from hikers to highway personnel, birders to boaters, and farmers to foresters."

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