The Lake Hopatcong Water Scouts is a 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 indentification 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.
The Water Scouts initiative features classroom training and on-the-water refresher sessions so volunteers can learn about the aquatic plants of Lake Hopatcong, along with the dangers of invasive species like the water chestnut.
January 23, 2020 | News