BEMUS POINT - The Bemus Creek area is the new focus in the battle against the water chestnut plant.
Volunteers who searched the lake Tuesday reported that they found three plants in the Bemus Creek area.
"We found two rooted plants in the Bemus Creek area," said Jeff Diers, Chautauqua County watershed coordinator. "One was found 100 yards upstream and a second one was found just outside the mouth of the creek, about 30 feet to the south of the creek. A third plant was found floating in Hadley Bay, approximately where the very first plant was found."
Chautauqua County Department of Planning & Economic Development Deputy Director Mark Geise helps lead Tuesday’s search for water chestnut on Chautauqua Lake.
P-J photo by Remington Whitcomb
According to Diers, as soon as he was contacted about the find, he traveled to the location of the plant and removed the entire plant, including the roots. Volunteers in search of the plant were told to contact Diers immediately if a plant were found so he could properly remove the plant from the lake and accurately mark the location it was found.
"All rooted plants have been located in the Bemus Creek area," said Diers. "Bemus Creek has become our focus area (in search of the plant). Efforts will continue around the entire lake, but the Bemus Creek area is our primary target (due to the recent activity there). We encourage everyone to continuously look around the entire lake, but those in the Bemus Creek area should be especially diligent in looking for the plant. Any waters from the bridge on Bemus Creek to the Shore Acres and into Arnolds Bay is a (high-risk area) due to what we've already found there and residents of that particular area should be on alert."
Diers said that because of the location where the plants were found, he intends on going into the watershed and investigating the areas for the potential source of the water chestnut plants. He believes this investigation will take place over the next few days.
In addition to a new focus point in the battle against the water chestnut in Chautauqua Lake, Diers also had some good news regarding how the plant is affecting the rest of the county.
"There have been reports that the water chestnut has been found growing in the Dunkirk Harbor, and I would like to confirm that those reports are not true. After the reports came in, I went out and investigated the Dunkirk Harbor with DEC officials from the Dunkirk and Lake Erie Fishery Unit and we can confidently rescind the claim that water chestnuts have been found. This is great news, as we can now focus our attention at Chautauqua Lake instead of having to worry about the water chestnut affecting both lakes."
Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards has released a notice to the general public asking all those who spend time on or near the lake to keep an eye out for the invasive species. If the plant is spotted, people are asked to call the watershed hotline at 363-4499, 753-4499, or 661-7499 to report your sighting. Please be sure to leave your name, phone number and the location of the sighting. It is also asked that you please do not remove the plant if spotted. Experts need to analyze where it is and properly remove it.