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Connecticut River Estuary Water Chestnut Success Story

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The photo gallery above shows  before and after pictures in July 2018 of the Portland Boat Works site where a large amount of the invasive water chestnut (Trapa natans) was removed. Portland is on the Connecticut River about 30 miles upstream from Long Island Sound.

The initial removal began with Margot Burns from the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments (RiverCOG), boat yard employee Frank Healey (who crafted the raft for loading the plants), and Judy Preston, the Long Island Sound Study public outreach coordinator for CT Sea Grant. With the three of them working together, a little less than half of the plants were removed on day one.

The “after” pictures (photos 3 and 4) were sent by the marina two days later, after the site was entirely cleaned by Healey. The fourth photo shows the productive submerged vegetation (really important aquatic habitat) that survived below the water chestnut and is now unobstructed.

The fifth photo shows water chestnut in the Hudson River where it is also a biological as well as economic threat.

The “success” story is not that water chestnut has been eradicated here – the site will need to be checked annually, but that the marina owner and staff took the threat seriously and got involved.

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation water chestnut is an aquatic invasive plant that is native to Eurasia and Africa. It was introduced in the United States in the mid-1800’s as an ornamental plant. Water chestnut colonizes areas of freshwater lakes and ponds and slow-moving streams and rivers and negatively impacts aquatic ecosystems and water recreation. For more information about the plant, and what to do to help prevent it from appearing in the first place, visit the NYSDEC’s website in the aquatic life section.

Photos by Judy Preston.


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