Water Chestnut (trapa natans) is a non-native floating aquatic plant that is rapidly spreading across our state and poses a serious threat to any water body where it can get established.
Last year at Lake Hopatcong the Knee Deep Club helped organize a lake wide search of the entire shoreline and other shallow areas that would be ideal habitat for this fast growing plant that can choke out entire areas making any type of recreation nearly impossible.
The club organized a group of roughly 70 paddlers named the Lake Hopatcong WATER SCOUTS. The paddlers using kayaks & canoes and wearing bright yellow caps, came from various lake groups such as the LH Yacht Club, Garden State Yacht Club, LH Antique & Classic Boat Club, Knee Deep members along with concerned private citizens.
During last year’s search the WATER SCOUTS did find a small group of plants in Landing Channel and were able to remove them before they could drop their seeds. In total around 50 young emergent plants were removed. Those plants would barely have filled a laundry basket. But if left unchecked would have dropped over 10,000 seeds that would have all been growing & spreading in the lake this season. That is why this is such a serious threat.
The WATER SCOUTS hope the entire lake community will help in this effort and report any sightings, no matter how small. The plant is easily identified by its triangular shaped leaves, that grow in small clusters (rosettes) and have distinctive serrated or saw tooth like edges. Plants can be reported to the Lake Hopatcong Commission (973) 663-0181 or WATER SCOUT team leader Tim Clancy via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do not remove the plants but try to mark them with something that is brightly colored so a team can come verify and also thoroughly search the general area. It would be very helpful to also take pictures of not just the plant but of the area where they were found so that the team can easily locate them. Your help is greatly appreciated. In the long run it will be the participation of the entire lake community that will help save our lake from this devastating invasive aquatic plant.