Boat Stewards in the News!

On Thursday, August 14 three NYS Parks Boat Stewards from the Genesee Region (Becca Hull, Joe Little, and Rick Clark) pitched in to remove water chestnuts from the Braddock Bay. Check out the coverage here!

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The Rochester Channel 8 story is included below:

The fight is on against a pesky plant that is threatening some of our areas waterways, and now local volunteers are trying to get rid of the water chestnut.   It’s a hands-on job, that a group of 28 volunteers know will make a difference.  Pulling water chestnuts from Braddock Bay, is not an easy job… they have to be pulled by hand, one by one.

“It’s a dirty messy job but we are out there in canoes and kayaks just bagging this stuff,” explained the pull’s coordinator, Hilary Mosher.

The water chestnut is not native to the Rochester area and it can choke out other water plants that are supposed to live here.  A number of groups including the Department of Environmental Conservation, the College at Brockport, the Nature Conservancy and the Audubon Society hope to get rid of it before it is too late.

“We need to make sure it remains healthy,” attested June Summers of the Genesee Valley Audubon Society.  “We need to get this invasive out because it will take over the bay if it’s allowed to very quickly.”

Volunteers have already pulled dozens of bags full of water chestnuts from the lake but their work is far from over.

“I brought 75 bags, and we still had to go out and buy more,” sighed Mosher.

The group is working quickly because once the plant drops it’s seeds it can multiply very fast.

The College at Brockport’s Brad Mudrzynski says, “it can basically take over an area in a cove pretty quickly.”

“One acre of this plant for one year can create 100 acres the following years,” said Mosher.  That’s something no one wants to see happen.

Read more about projects aimed at improving Braddock Bay:

EPA funds to help design Braddock Bay fix

Water chestnuts choking Braddock Bay

 

Stories from the Field: First Water Chestnut Pull @ Braddock Bay

Written by Becca Hull (Lake Ontario Boat Steward)

August 11, 2014

Two of the New York State Parks boat stewards were invited to help assist the Finger Lakes PRISM, the Nature Conservatory, and the Audubon Society eradicate water chestnut, Trapa natans, from Braddock Bay located in Greece, NY.

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Drawing credit: Becca Hull

“What’s the big deal about water chestnut?” is a question I have been hearing all summer at Braddock Bay. T. natans originated in Europe, Asia, and Africa where native insect parasites preyed on the plant. In America, water chestnut reproduces rapidly because there are no natural predators to keep the growth in check. Once water chestnut takes over an area they can form floating mats which create hazards for boaters. The mats can limit the light penetration of the sun, out compete other native plants, and provide little nutritional value for fish. The simple answer is water chestnut has the ability to disrupt the freshwater ecosystem of our Great lakes.

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Above: The crew with their chestnut haul. Photo credit: Hilary Mosher, Finger Lakes PRISM

On Thursday July, 31, 2014, the team hit the water, we paddled through the docks finding the occasional water chestnut. As we reached the strip of land separating the bay from lake, we were in for a big surprise. Patches and patches of dense water chestnut colonies had invaded the waters. Our bags filled quickly, by the end of the day we had filled 10 hefty black garbage bags.

The amount of water chestnut growing was overwhelming! Another water chestnut pull has been organized this upcoming Thursday, August 14that Braddock Bay Marina. Come out and help our cause!

Special thanks to Hilary Mosher, Veronica Schmitt, June Summers, Wiley Summers, and Rick Clark for partaking in the pull!

Interested in more information about water chestnut? Check out the New York Invasive Species Information webpage.