Good news: Invasive water chestnut almost eradicated at Jamestown Audubon— you can help

Recently Western New York PRISM (Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management) staff helped Audubon Community Nature Center near its long-sought goal of removing all the invasive European Water Chestnut from its waters. PRISM staff are pictured here in waders pulling water chestnut from Audubon’s Big Pond. Photo courtesy Audubon Community Nature Center

When it comes to invasive species, it’s great to hear some good news for a change.

The Audubon Community Nature Center (ACNC) is nearing the finish line in eradicating the European water chestnut that first appeared in 2013.

It took hundreds of volunteers over five summers to get to this point, with a major pull by volunteers on June 24.

Soon after that, staff from Western New York PRISM (Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management) dressed in waders and moved around in kayaks for four days to pull more water chestnut.

“Thanks to their efforts, coupled with the work of our great seasonal staff and local volunteers, the problem appears to be getting under control,” said Jeff Tome, Audubon senior naturalist.

The European water chestnut is an invasive species that can cover a water body so densely it chokes out other plants and animal life. Much of ACNC’s 600-acre wetland preserve is covered by a series of ponds, making it dangerously vulnerable to the annual invader.

ACNC staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly since its first appearance to control its infestation and prevent it from spreading to other waterways in the region, including Conewango Creek and Chautauqua Lake.

Volunteer help is still needed. Julie Gibson, Audubon water chestnut coordinator, focuses on pulling on Tuesdays and Thursdays. She can also arrange to work with volunteers on Saturdays and evenings. You can participate by emailing Gibson at waterchestnut@auduboncnc.org.

ACNC is located at 1600 Riverside Rd., one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown, New York, and Warren, Pennsylvania.

Western New York PRISM is a regional partnership created to address the negative impacts of invasive species on our economy, environment, and human health. With offices in the Great Lakes Center at SUNY Buffalo State, their collaborative approach to invasive species management includes local citizens, private landowners, non-profit organizations, state, federal, tribal, and local agencies, business, researchers and universities.

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