Aquatic invasive species are an increasingly important topic for people who enjoy the waters of Massachusetts. These invaders include the Asian carp threatening Lake Michigan and zebra mussels and didymo (rock snot) in the Northeast, or snakehead fish in Florida. Earlier this month scientists reported the new discovery of European shrimp in Salem.
Invasive species often disrupt native ecosystems and can cause problems for people who want to use the water. Species such as zebra mussels can cover beaches with their sharp shells and damage docks and piers. Milfoil and water chestnut can grow so thick in lakes and waterways that boating and swimming are impossible.
Water chestnut infestation is a major problem in the Mystic River in Somerville and Medford. These infestations get tangled in boat propellers, make paddling almost impossible, and leave sharp, spiny seeds on the bottom. A recent grant from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust to Groundwork Somerville aims to substantially reduce the occurrence of water chestnut in the Mystic and help open the river for recreation. Removing these invasive plants will have tremendous benefits for the Mystic River ecosystem as native flora and fauna pushed out by the shade and density of water chestnut can return.
Part of this project involves removing the plants with a mechanical harvester. Other areas of the river need to be pulled by hand by people in canoes. The Groundwork Somerville Green Team – made up of local youth – has removed hundreds of bushels of water chestnut so far this summer.
This weekend you can participate in this effort too! A volunteer water chestnut pulling event will take place on Saturday, August 28 in Medford. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to Brad at Groundwork Somerville at 617.455.1127 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: April posted on May 14
A lamb at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in North Grafton. Photo by David Cawston April’s contest winner was David Cawston who photographed a spring lamb at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in North Grafton. The Cummings School of …Continue Reading 2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: April
2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: March posted on Apr 23
Girard’s Sugarhouse in Heath, MA. The sugarhouse was built in 1887 and produces around 250-300 gallons of syrup annually. Photo by Michael Girard March’s contest winner was Michael Girard who photographed his family’s sugarhouse in Heath. Michael Girard has been a sugarmaker since 1961 when he …Continue Reading 2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: March
2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: February posted on Feb 25
February’s contest winner was Amanda Bettle, who photographed sheep at The Natural Resources Trust of Easton. This photo features Dog, a former 4-H show animal and sole male sheep among the nine ewes in the Natural Resources Trust of Easton (NRT) flock. It is the mission …Continue Reading 2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: February