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July 8, 2013

Volunteers Will Attack Invasive Plants at Port Ontario on July 13

Daniel Paro (left) pulls water chestnuts from his kayak while Oswego County Legislator Shawn Doyle, District 2, Pulaski, searches for the invasive plant on the Salmon River Estuary. Doyle is riding in a driftboat with Dave Paro of Dave's Executive Guide Service. Volunteers, including members of the Oswego County River Guides Association will hold their annual water chestnut hand-pull Saturday, July 13 on the Salmon River Estuary.

PORT ONTARIO - Volunteers, river guides, and members of local environmental organizations will gather Saturday, July 13, at the Pine Grove Boat Launch near Selkirk Shores State Park for a community water chestnut pull on the Salmon River Estuary.

Volunteers may ride in a driftboat with members of the Oswego County River Guides Association, or bring their own canoes and kayaks. Participants will hand-pull water chestnut plants and bring them in to shore where they will be safely disposed of. Collection bags will be furnished for those pulling water chestnut plants. Members of the public are encouraged to participate.

From 8:30 to 9:15 a.m., members of the St. Lawrence Eastern Lake Ontario Partnership for Regional Invasive Species (SLELO-PRISM) will lead a session on how to identify common invasive species and monitor their presence in waterways and on land. The community water chestnut pull will last until around noon.

Also assisting in the project are the Oswego County Soil and Water Conservation District, Selkirk Shores State Park, the Pine Grove Association, New York Sea Grant, 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.

"The water chestnut plant is an invasive species that, once established, can significantly reduce the quality of the native habitat, impede recreational use of waterways, and interfere with terrestrial ecosystems. Water chestnut is present in shallow areas of the lower Salmon River Estuary as well as in sections of the Oswego River," said DeHollander.

It is difficult to slow the spread of water chestnut once it becomes established in a shallow water area. Volunteers have successfully led hand-pull efforts over the past several summers to remove the plant from the Salmon River Estuary and sections of the Oswego River. 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 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 the Oswego River again this summer.

For more information or to sign up for the July 13 event at Port Ontario, contact the Oswego County Soil and Water Conservation District at 315-592-9663 or SLELO-PRISM at 315-387-3600 ext. 23.

The event will be held in the event of light rain. Paddlers should bring personal flotation devices. In high winds or lightening, the event will be postponed for the day and re-scheduled.

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

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