Water Chestnut (water caltrops). Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0, wikimedia.org
"This was a plant that was brought over to be a beautiful water garden plant that got away," said Ruth Lundin, president of the Jamestown Audubon Nature Center. "So now it is very abundant, and it's easy for it to reproduce." Referring to European Water Chestnut, the invasive was first found in the state in 1884, and ever since then it has been an ever present, growing force.
"They form a thick layer of leaves over the top of the pond which prevents any sunlight from getting to the bottom to get to any other plants, which decreases the oxygen level in the water, which is obviously bad for the fish population and any other animals living in the water," explained Invasive Species Coordinator Julie Gibson.
The main problem with controlling European Water Chestnut is it's ease of transport and viability. Easily transferred by waterfowl, the seeds also have a long shelf life. "The problem is, the nutlets, the seeds from the plant that drop down to the bottom of the water, an they can be viable for up to twelve years," said Gibson. "So even after we pull, and pull, and pull, they can keep coming back up until we get every last one."
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