Volunteers clean up invasive species in Massapequa lake

Posted: Updated:
HEMPSTEAD -

Volunteers worked with the Department of Environmental Conservation Thursday to get rid of a potentially harmful, invasive species in Massapequa.

Neighbors, along with state and local officials, pulled out a plant called the water chestnut that has taken over Massapequa lake.

Officials say this is an invasive water plant that is native Eurasia and Africa, but not to Long Island. They say it is unknown how the species got here, but believe it may have been introduced to the lake by someone emptying an aquarium or pond.

Experts say the water chestnut grows fast and makes it difficult for fish to swim, birds to paddle through and for water to flow. They say this makes a perfect environment for mosquitos to breed.

“This stuff just takes over the whole lake," says homeowner Janet Nix. "The root system goes all the way down almost 4-foot to the bottom and the root of this thing comes from this ugly sharp thing called the water chestnut seed.”

Officials say once all the water chestnut is pulled, bags of the plant will be removed by the county and then destroyed.

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