Volunteers needed for Audubon water chestnut pull

Date(s) - Saturday, Jun 24, 2017
8:30 am

Audubon Community Nature Center


Volunteers are needed to help pull water chestnut plants on Saturday, June 24 at the Audubon Community Nature Center, 1600 Riverside Rd., one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown, New York, and Warren, Pennsylvania.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., with pulling from 9 a.m. to noon. Lunch will be served at 12:30, with a report of success to follow.

Service clubs, church groups, Scouts and families are invited to volunteer together. Walk-ins are welcome, but reservations are appreciated, especially if you plan to stay for lunch.

You can R.S.V.P. to Julie Gibson at waterchestnut@auduboncnc.org by Thursday, June 22. Include the number of people coming with your group and whether you can bring a kayak, canoe or waders.

Water and snacks will be available throughout the morning, and Audubon will supply gloves, sun block, bug spray, and first aid.

All volunteers need to be at least 16 years old, and minors need to be accompanied by an adult.

Much of Audubon Community Nature Center’s 600-acre wetland preserve is covered by a series of ponds, making it dangerously vulnerable to what has become the annual arrival of the European water chestnut.

Accidentally released into waters of the Northeast in the late 1800s, this invasive species is native to Europe, Asia and Africa, where it has natural predators. A different species from the edible water chestnut, this plant is capable of spreading rapidly. It forms a thick layer on top of ponds, lakes and streams, blocking sunlight from other plants and animals and making boating, fishing, and other water recreation very difficult.

Since 2013 Audubon has worked hard every summer to control its infestation and prevent it from spreading to other waterways in the region, including Conewango Creek and Chautauqua Lake.

Audubon Water Chestnut Coordinator Julie Gibson and Invasive Species Management Assistants Tiffany Donaldson and MaryAnn Mason have begun tackling this year’s invaders. However, successful elimination of Water Chestnut requires the efforts of many volunteers to get into the water in chest waders, or work from rowboats, kayaks, or canoes to pull the plant up by hand.