Helpers needed for Audubon water chestnut removal

JAMESTOWN – If you love a pond or lake in Chautauqua County or the Conewango watershed, the Audubon Center & Sanctuary needs you.

Audubon is beginning the summer effort in its second year of continuing to remove the invasive water chestnut.

Starting today, Audubon will be having a series of “chestnut pulling” days, a huge undertaking that will require scores of volunteers to get these plants pulled before their seeds disperse in August. Otherwise, they will choke out both plant and animal life in waterways throughout the area.

With the help of many volunteer crews using kayaks, canoes, waders and rakes, successful pulls were held during June and July last year. This summer the work will continue toward the goal of 100 percent elimination.

Volunteers are invited to participate and consider putting together a team that will “adopt” an area of Audubon’s Big Pond to keep it clear of water chestnut.

Audubon is hoping service clubs, church groups, youth groups, and families choose days when they can join the many individuals who participate as a part of their community support. Pulls will be scheduled to occur one to two times per week through June and July, including major pulls on weekends those months.

The first pull will be 1 to 4 p.m. today. It will begin with an orientation on the best ways to pull water chestnut and will end with refreshments where everyone will report back with their results. Workers should wear long pants and sturdy, closed-toe shoes, boots or waders.

Individuals who can bring kayaks, canoes or chest waders should mention this when signing up.

Reservations are needed to have enough tools and food. Those interested are asked to call Audubon at 569-2345 or e-mail waterchestnut@jamestownaudubon.org for more information or to sign up.

The Audubon Center & Sanctuary is at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62, between Jamestown and Warren, Pa.

For more information on all Audubon programs, call 569-2345 or visit www.jamestownaudubon.org.