In spite of a heavy downpour that ended just 30 minutes before the scheduled launch time of 5 p.m. on August 17, 41 paddlers showed up to save Pecausett Pond in Portland from a serious infestation of water chestnut. Our goal was to remove several large, dense patches and many isolated plants before their nuts dropped. Water chestnut (Trapa natans) is an aquatic invasive plant imported from Asia in the 1880s. Once established, the plants can cover freshwater ponds and river coves, cutting off sunlight and oxygen that fish require.
Without this quick action, Pecausett Pond would surely have become a far more difficult-to-manage situation next year, because the plants reproduce exponentially. One plant can produce 50 nuts. Pecausett Pond could easily turn into an overwhelming infestation.
The response from paddlers was huge and heartwarming. We had 7 canoes, which enabled us to carry the more than 100 bags of plant material back to Portland Boat Works – the marina that granted us free launching for the purpose of removing invasive plants. We were on the water for 90 minutes.
We wish to thank everyone who showed up and worked so hard. We all got wet in the process—not from rain, because it didn’t rain during the event, but from collecting the wet plants. But the camaraderie, sense of accomplishment, and exercise all made for a gratifying evening. See more photos here.