Briella TomassettiJun 17, 2018, 6:42 pm

The Department of Environmental Conservation pulls out invasive species in Wantagh

Water chestnuts choke out oxygen in water, kill wildlife

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WANTAGH – The Department of Environmental Conservation teamed up with local environmental groups and volunteers to combat an invasive species, the water chestnut, on the south shore on Monday. Volunteers armed with kayaks, canoes, and a pair of gloves took part in a 'water chestnut pull' at mill pond.

The water chestnut might just look like a harmless weed, but it's actually an environmental hazard.

"When you have a plant that becomes very dense or an invasive plant that doesn't belong here, it doesn't have natural predators, so it tends to take off," NYS Dec Heidi O’Riordan said.

Once the water chestnut spreads throughout a water body it "chokes out" the water, essentially depleting the water of oxygen and killing wildlife.

A single plant can have dozens of nuts- which spread through wind and are carried by other plants and animals and cause more plants to

"If we let it go without any attention, then these invasive species will just take over the water body and that's just not what we want," Nassau County Deputy County Executive for Parks and Public Works Brian Schneider said.

The plant has been in Wantagh for about six years so far and environmental groups hope this cleanup will make a lasting impact.

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