group of kayakers smiling for a picture as they float down Lake Hopatcong

Water Scouts

The Lake Hopatcong Water Scouts is a volunteer program designed to find and eradicate invasive water chestnut on Lake Hopatcong. Established by the Knee Deep Club in 2010, the program trains and organizes volunteers in the identification and removal of water chestnut. The Foundation took over management of the scouts in 2013.

One colony of water chestnut was originally found and eradicated by a Water Scout in Landing Channel in 2010.   Two more outbreaks of the plant were found in 2014 — one near Liffy Island and a smaller outbreak in the Jefferson Canals. Though we have remained diligent in managing any water chestnut on Lake Hopatcong, certain “ hot spots” remain for Water Scouts to monitor and the threat of proliferation remains constant. The lake’s shallower, more stagnant waters are most at risk of water chestnut infestation. Since the plant multiplies so quickly, it can rapidly damage the natural environment and minimize the recreational use of the lake.

Water chestnut plants, and similar invasive species, can be transported to Lake Hopatcong via boats, trailers, waterfowl, and other means. Unchecked, they have been known to take over and impoverish entire lake ecosystems.

Volunteer Water Scouts select areas of shoreline (link to map below) to monitor from their own kayak or canoe a few times throughout June and July. If water chestnut is found, the scout removes it and reports their findings. Training is available. 

Interested in becoming a Water Scout?

Click HERE for more information on how to get started. 

Water Scouts Zone Map
Water Chestnut Brochure
Lake Hopatcong Aquatic Plants Guide

View our "Water Chestnut and Water Scouts: What's It All About?" webinar below:

View presentation slides

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