The Jamestown Audubon Society and the Water Chestnut Committee of Conewango Creek Watershed Association are planning to take on a major effort to minimize the spread of water chestnut.
The invasive, non-native aquatic plant has taken a foothold in the Big Pond at the Audubon sanctuary on Riverside Road, threatening both the ponds and lakes of Chautauqua County and the Conewango Creek Watershed in Pennsylvania including the Akeley swamp if it spreads.
During the winter, Audubon's Land Use Management Committee worked on their second year plans to continue the attack on the problem.
Thanks to support from area partners, Jamestown Audubon and the Conewango Creek Watershed Association are preparing to tackle the invasion of water chestnut in Big Pond at the Audubon Sanctuary on Riverside Road. While the pond is now drained, with the help of many volunteers, it will be able to be restored to its normal state.
According to Ruth Lundin, Jamestown Audubon president, "This is an undertaking different from anything we have researched. We are working to control this plant using a series of measures that have not been tried on such a scale, including lowering the water level of Big Pond. Our goal is to continue the successful removal of all plants from Big Pond."
On Saturday, June 21, Audubon will be partner with Conewango Creek Watershed Association volunteers to have a water chestnut pulling day, both at the Audubon Sanctuary and at ponds in Akeley, Pa. The undertaking will require scores of volunteers. Audubon is calling upon anyone who loves a pond or lake in Chautauqua County or Warren County and in the Conewango Creek watershed to participate.
Jean Gomory from Warren County Conservation District and Jeff Diers, research scientist at the State University at Fredonia, are co-chairs on the committee leading the effort for the Conewango Creek Watershed Association and working with Audubon in this effort.
"This is important to all the area waterways, so we need to continue the effort as we did last year," Diers noted. "We are hoping that, in addition to individuals, service clubs, church groups, youth groups, and families will volunteer their time over the summer to pull out any flowering Water Chestnuts."
The combined pull will be Saturday, June 21, from 8 a.m. to noon. It will start with an orientation at Jamestown Audubon, 1600 Riverside Road, on the best ways to pull water chestnut and will end with a lunch where everyone will report back with their results.
Call Audubon at 569-2345 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to sign up. Reservations are needed to have enough equipment and food.
An initial water chestnut pull will be held at Jamestown Audubon on Saturday from 1-4 p.m.
Volunteers for both events are asked to wear long pants and sturdy, closed-toe shoes or boots or waders. All necessary tools and equipment will be provided, but workers who have kayaks, life jackets, and accessories are asked bring these to help in their access to areas on Big Pond or the ponds in Akeley.
The Audubon Center and Sanctuary is at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown and Warren.
Partners with the Conewango Creek Watershed Association working on the Water Chestnut Removal efforts include: Chautauqua County, Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds, Jamestown Audubon, Northern Allegheny Conservation Association, Pennsylvania Game Commission, SUNY Fredonia, Warren County Conservation District, WNY PRISM, and Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.
For more information, call 569-2345 or visit www.jamestownaudubon.org.