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June 28, 2012

Water Chestnut Pulls on Oswego and Lower Salmon Rivers in Early July - Volunteers Take Invasive Plants into their Own Hands

Oswego County Legislator Shawn Doyle, District 3, Pulaski, and New York Sea Grant aquatic invasive species resource educator Stacy Furgal pull water chestnut plants from a drift boat last summer at the Salmon River Estuary near Port Ontario. Volunteers will gather at 8 a.m. July 14 near Port Ontario for this year�s event. (Photo by Janet Clerkin.)

OSWEGO COUNTY - Volunteers will gather in July near Oswego and Pulaski to pull water chestnut plants from the Oswego and Salmon rivers.

On Saturday, July 7, from 10 a.m. to approximately noon, Dick and Naneen Drosse will lead a hand-pull near Battle Island and the historic canal lock on the west side of the Oswego River, south of Minetto. Volunteers will meet with canoes and kayaks at 10 a.m. at the Drosses' home, Hickory Grove Road, Minetto.

Dick Drosse said that aside from the large mats of water chestnuts found near Battle Island and elsewhere, there are also smaller areas of water chestnuts that can be removed by hand-pulling. He and his wife, Naneen, have been pulling water chestnuts, with volunteers, from areas along the Oswego River for the past five years.

"We are seeing that hand-pull efforts from previous years have been effective, and we are hoping to work on several areas near Battle Island and the old canal lock foundation on July 7," said Drosse.

There is limited space available for those who don't have their own canoe or kayak. For information or to join the group, call 315-343-4565 or e-mail rdrosse@twcny.rr.com.

The Oswego County Soil and Water Conservation District has partnered with the Oswego County River Guides Association, New York Sea Grant and the Nature Conservancy to conduct a hand-pull from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, July 14 at the Pine Grove Boat Launch near Selkirk Shores State Park, Route 3, Pulaski. Volunteers are welcome to join them in canoes and kayaks.

Also assisting in the project are Selkirk Shores State Park, the Pine Grove Association, and several concerned individuals and families.

John DeHollander, District Manager of the Oswego County Soil and Water Conservation District, is coordinating water chestnut control efforts in Oswego County.

"It is difficult to slow the spread of water chestnut once it becomes established in a shallow water area," said DeHollander. "The plants can create large floating mats of vegetation that restrict the penetration of sunlight, limit the growth of native plants, and disrupt the food web."

Each water chestnut plant can produce as many as up to 300 nuts per year.

The Soil and Water Conservation District applied a chemical treatment to more than 200 acres of water chestnut plants on the Oswego River last year. The agency plans to use a chemical treatment on 200 acres in the Oswego River again this summer.

For more information or to sign up for the July 14 event at Port Ontario, contact the Oswego County Soil and Water Conservation District at 315-592-9663.

The Salt City Bassmasters, the Good Ole Boys Bass Club, and the New York BASS Chapter Federation are planning a hand-pull in the Oneida Lake area this summer. Details will be announced.

Additional information about water chestnuts can be found at http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/pubs/midatlantic/trna.htm

Paddlers, from left, Patty Harrington, Cat Hampshire, Dan Kasperek and Naneen Drosse loaded their kayaks with water chestnut plants last summer on the Oswego River. The Oswego River water chestnut pull will begin at 10 a.m. July 7 near Minetto. (Photo by Dick Drosse.)

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