Post Content

Bill Hinkley

Bill Hinkley

Program Director, Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET)

View Bill's Bio

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 brad@groundworksomerville.org.

Event information.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife / U.S. Coast Guard aquatic invasives information.

Department of Conservation and Recreation water chestnut fact sheet.

Video of water chestnut removal on the Mystic River.

Written By:

Recent Posts

Wood: The Future (and Past) of Green Infrastructure posted on Sep 30

Wood: The Future (and Past) of Green Infrastructure

Wood, one of the oldest building materials in human history, might also be the greenest.

The View from Massachusetts posted on Sep 17

The View from Massachusetts

While Massachusetts can claim significant success in urban river revitalization, dam removal, cranberry bog naturalization and stream flow restoration, globally there are daunting challenges to restore highly impacted or vanishing ecosystems that will test the acumen of ecologists, engineers and politicians for years to come.

2014 DAR Agricultural Calendar: September posted on Sep 12

2014 DAR Agricultural Calendar: September

September’s photo contest winner was Gary Kamen, who photographed Mount Warner Vineyard in Hadley. Mount Warner Vineyards is a farm-winery located in Hadley, a small town in the beautiful Pioneer Valley. Operated by Gary and Bobbie Kamen, their philosophy is to recognize the unique characteristics of   …Continue Reading 2014 DAR Agricultural Calendar: September