Yesterday marked the end of New York’s Invasive Species Awareness Week. As part of the campaign, volunteers joined the State Department of Environmental Conservation and pulled out water chestnut weeds from the waters of Massapequa.
The barbed, leafy green weed has become a major problem on Massapequa Lake and Reservoir.
Native to Europe, Africa and Asia, the water chestnut was first spotted on Long Island back in 2011. Aquatic biologist Heidi O’Riordan told Newsday the water chestnut now completely covers the 40-acre lake and has cut into the reservoir.
The DEC wants to remove the weed before it drops its seeds in late July or August. However, some weeds have already released their seeds. Each year brings a new effort by the DEC to remove the water chestnut, costing about $100,000.
The plant was most likely introduced to the lake by disposed contents of aquariums or decorative ponds.