By: Donna Macalle-Holly
Each year, the Lake Hopatcong Water Scouts help protect the lake environment by locating and removing invasive water chestnut from the lake. Throughout the summer of 2022, our team of volunteer Water Scouts hand-pulled 115 water chestnut plants (containing 156 rosettes) in the cove south of Liffy Island, in the Woodport section of Lake Hopatcong. The plants that were removed contained 451 seeds or nuts. These hard nuts contain spines with sharp barbs and sink to the lake bottom where they remain viable to produce more plants for up to 12 years.
Lake Hopatcong Water Scouts volunteer their time each summer season paddling along a designated area of the shoreline looking for water chestnut to ensure that this aggressive invasive species does not spread to other areas in Lake Hopatcong. In recent years, the plants have only been found near Liffy Island and the Jefferson Canals, but it is critically important for our entire lake community to remain diligent. Here’s how you can help:
If volunteer Water Scouts had not dedicated hundreds of hours over the years removing water chestnut, it is very likely it would be widespread in the Woodport area and possibly other areas throughout the lake. Unchecked, aquatic invasive species have been known to take over and impoverish entire lake ecosystems.
Thank you to all of our Water Scouts! They are truly making a difference in protecting our lake.