Clarkstown purchases boats to remove invasive plant species from lakes, waterways
The town of Clarkstown recently bought two new boats to fight off invasive species, including water chestnuts.
According to the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation, water chestnuts were introduced to New York in the 1800s and are currently found in 40 counties across the state, including Rockland.
What makes the invasive plant a concern is its ability to form dense vegetation that blocks the sun, killing aquatic plants and oxygen levels in the water.
Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann tells News 12 the fish are suffering, as well as other wildlife.
"It’s got to be addressed. If you don't deal with this, the water is not as healthy, the wildlife's not as safe and you'll continue to have long-term problems,” says Hoehmann.
Officials say the boat can remove half an acre of plants from the water per day. The plants will then be composted.
News 12 is told water chestnuts spread through fruit or seedlings that fall off the plant and flow to other waterways. The reason it’s so hard to control is due to the seeds being viable for 12 years.
The town plans to have the boat out for two days a week. Town officials say residents can expect clearer shorelines within a few weeks.
"It's going to protect the future of all these waterways,” says Hoehmann.