On August 26th, 11 volunteers assisted Lakes and Ponds Management and Protection Program staff in removing a new population of the aquatic invasive plant water chestnut (Trapa natans) from Lake Carmi in Franklin. Lake Carmi, approximately 1,400 acres in size, is the 26th Vermont lake/pond with a population of water chestnut.
Water chestnut is a nonnative, annual, aquatic plant that spreads primarily by seeds. Its dense growth can reach up to 30 tons per acre, reducing recreational opportunities, outcompeting beneficial native aquatic plants, and providing little value to wildlife.
The volunteers – represented by the Lake Carmi Campers Association, the Franklin Watershed Committee, the Lake Champlain Basin Program, the Nature Conservancy Southern Lake Champlain office, and a Brattleboro-based aquatic invasive species consultant – successfully searched for and harvested over 6,300 water chestnut plants weighing an estimated 2,100 pounds (wet weight) from the area of Lake Carmi known locally as Mill Pond. Volunteers, Jay and Martha Shepard, disposed of the collected water chestnut on their nearby farm.
The following week, Lakes and Ponds staff surveyed the entire lake and did not find water chestnut in any other areas beyond Mill Pond. Vermont Invasive Patrollers or VIPs, volunteers trained to identify aquatic invasive species, have already put in time searching for this and other aquatic invasive species in the lake.
Anyone using a Vermont water body is encouraged to be responsible stewards of state waters and take precautions that will reduce the opportunity for aquatic invasive species or wildlife disease to hitchhike along. Practice the simple spread prevention steps of “clean, drain, dry” to avoid transporting aquatic invasive species from one water body to another.