The Oneida Lake and Watershed Management Plan

Pulling It Together—Volunteers Controlling Water Chestnut on Oneida Lake

A new program is taking hold. Volunteers are being organized to hand-pull the invasive aquatic plant, water chestnut from two areas on Oneida Lake. Water chestnut is a concern because it can form dense mats that interfere with recreation and limit habitat for fish and other plants. If you have seen a thick mat of green covering the Seneca River, you have seen water chestnut. Thanks to support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the CNY Regional Planning Board, Cornell Cooperative Extension has been able to begin a program to help stop the spread of water chestnut from the Seneca River into Oneida Lake. Over 40 volunteers from the Oneida Lake Association have signed up to be a part of the program. Additionally, over 2000 lakeshore homeowners in Oswego, Onondaga and Madison Counties have been sent information about the perils of water chestnut and what they can do.

The grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Foundation is also supporting the distribution of educational signs and mechanical harvesting of water chestnut by the Oneida County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), Madison County Planning Department and the Onondaga County Department of Health.

The photos taken below are from water chestnut hand-pulling workshops organized by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County.

A canoe full of water chestnuts
A canoe full of water chestnuts
Many community volunteers help out
Many community volunteers help out
Kids helping the effort
Kids helping the effort
A pontoon boat used to transport water chestnut plants
A pontoon boat used to transport water chestnut plants
A close-up of a water chestnut (click for a larger view—opens in a new window)
A close-up of a water chestnut (click for a larger view—opens in a new window)
Harvested plants can be used for agricultural mulch
Harvested plants can be used for agricultural mulch

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For more information on the Oneida Lake Watershed Management Plan activities e-mail the Central New York Regional Planning Board.

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