JAMESTOWN — Another aquatic invasive species has been found in the Chautauqua Lake outlet.
The Chautauqua Lake & Watershed Management Alliance announced this week the invasive water chestnut could negatively impact the health and usability of Chautauqua Lake by forming large, impenetrable mats of fast-growing plants that alter water chemistry and clarity, impair native species growth, and hinder boating, fishing and swimming.
The plants have small triangular leaves which grow to between 2 and 4 centimeters wide and form a rosette on the surface of the water. Small white flowers bloom in July and persist through the summer, producing seeds about 3 centimeters in length and contain four sharp barbs.
The seeds are painful to step on and can attach to waterfowl and animals, which spreads the plant from waterbody to waterbody.
Prior to 2019, the last time water chestnut plants were detected in Chautauqua Lake was in 2015.
The Audubon Community Nature Center is conducting a Water Chestnut Rapid Response Removal Program this year, which complements important early detection efforts led by the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History.
So far this month, more than 100 plants have been removed from the lake. In 2019, only 13 plants were detected and subsequently removed.