WHY do we need to remove Water Chestnuts from Sodus Bay?

Water chestnuts are one of the invasive species on Sodus Bay. They grow rapidly and can out-compete native aquatic vegetation. When they are allowed to grow, they can form impenetrable floating mats of vegetation.  These mats not only create a hazard for boaters but also can severely limit light penetration into the water and reduce or eliminate the growth of native aquatic plants beneath the canopy. The reduced plant growth combined with the decomposition of the water chestnut plants (which die back each year) can result in reduced levels of dissolved oxygen in the water, impact other aquatic organisms, and potentially lead to fish kills.

What has been done to curb Water Chestnuts growth in Sodus Bay?

Since 2012 (and before) Wayne County Soil and Water District, the Finger Lakes Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM), Save Our Sodus and other organizations have been pulling available resources (harvesters and operators), as well as canoe and kayak crews and volunteers for hand-pull harvesting of Water Chestnuts. That approach led to noticeable improvements and a noticeable reduction of Water Chestnuts in the Bay.

Usually, harvesting took place in late July – early August. Last year volunteers participated in 2 harvesting operations on July 23 and July 30th around Emerald Point of the Second Creek, Clark Creek and South of the Bay Bridge.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Volunteers Hank and Mary Stuart unloaded a pile of water chestnuts to a seaweed harvesting machine near Second Creek. July 23, 2016.

What has been done this year?

This year’s flood affected the annual water-chestnut cleanup efforts, but some work was done in spite of the challenges.

The highest water chestnuts concentration in Sodus Bay is on the South side of Sodus Bay Bridge.

That’s where most of the cleanup work has been performed in August of 2017 in order to reduce the generational invasion further into Sodus Bay.

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s (NYSDEC) Division of Habitat and Regional Permits have been working with the Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation District on a European Water Chestnut Management plan for this area of the Lake Shore Marshes. The plan includes invasive species control, fisheries monitoring and wetland habitat creation.
The entire area is not being clear cut. The areas that are along the reed land areas do not have concentration and are being left natural. NYSDEC has inspected the work. The District has been inspecting and documenting the plant matter of the collected loads.

Click on the image to enlarge

It is a unique process that is designed to reduce the amount of water chestnuts and the seed bank in the Bay.
It will take years to implement the variety of approaches outlined in the process, but we expect to see a positive impact on the environment, oxygen levels in the water and overall water quality.
The unusual water levels have given us the opportunity to try out this new process. It will help us better understand what is needed to be able to continue this harvesting approach for a short specific period each year.
By the end of September, a more detailed report explaining what was managed and accomplished will be prepared by the Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Invasive Species that THREATEN Sodus Bay

We need your help at the Sodus Bay Annual Water Chestnut Pull

Please join other volunteers at our Sodus Bay Annual Water Chestnut Hand Pull which takes place on

TWO DATES:   July 23d and July 30th  9 a.m. – noon;

at THREE LOCATIONS:

  • Emerald Point of the Second Creek (July 23d); 
  • Clark Creek & Spiegel Drive  (July 23d)
  • Sodus Bay at the Bay Bridge (July 30th)

Please help remove this invasive species from Sodus Bay - Come and BRING FRIENDS!

SOS Board member Dan McCullough harvested 6 bags of immature water chestnuts at the old trestle marina last week. This site will need to be revisited later this month as some weeds were inaccessible due to docks and large boats. Dan did a lot of outreach with boaters.  We will provide them with some invasive species materials at that visit so that they know what they’re looking at!

  • WHAT

    Sodus Bay Annual Water Chestnut Pull –

    Each year volunteers help with a water chestnut hand-pull harvest. In July helpers turn out in canoes and kayaks

  • WHY

    The water chestnut is an invasive plant that can clog waterways, cause fish kills, tangle up boats and lower the value of shoreline property. To help with the effort to control aquatic invasive species we pull them out because these plants grow very rapidly and if not managed, they out-compete native aquatic vegetation and form impenetrable floating mats on water surace.

    These mats create a hazard for boaters. The density of the mats can severely limit light penetration into the water and reduce or eliminate the growth of native aquatic plants beneath the canopy.

    The reduced plant growth combined with the decomposition of the water chestnut plants which die back each year can result in reduced levels of dissolved oxygen in the water, impact other aquatic organisms, and potentially lead to fish kills.

    Another effect of dense populations of water chestnut is the migration of small fish from under the canopy to the edges of the vegetative mat. That in turn leads to concentration of larger game fish attracted to the veritable “smorgasbord” at the fringe.

  • WHEN

    July 23, SATURDAY – from 9 a.m. till noon  – Emerald Point of the Second Creek 

    July 23, SATURDAY – from 9 a.m. till noon – Clark Creek & Spiegel Drive  

    July 30, Saturday, from 9 a.m. till noon – at the Bay Bridge

  • WHERE

    Emerald Point of the SECOND CREEK – Use an orange weed harvesting machine as the landmark –  July 23, Saturday, from 9 a.m. till noon

    CLARK Creek & Spiegel Drive – July 23, Saturday, from 9 a.m. till noon

    The BAY BRIDGE – July 30, Saturday, from 9 a.m. till noon