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A Growing Problem: Water Chestnut in the Mystic River, MA

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Published on Sep 24, 2012

Water chestnut, (Trapa natans) is an invasive plant found in the Mystic River. Find out what is being done to combat this weed and how you can lend a hand in this effort! For more information see the Mystic River Watershed Association's website at www.MysticRiver.org. Video by Clay Grable, 2012.

Water chestnut is native to Asia, Europe and Africa. It was introduced in 1897 by a gardener as an ornamental plant in Fresh Pond in Cambridge. In Medford, parts of the Mystic River are barely passable due to water chestnuts that are working hard to extend their habitat from shore to shore. These floating-leaved plants form dense, continuous mats over the water surface of lakes, ponds and slow-moving waters. The mats in turn impede boating, fishing, and swimming, and crowd out native plants. Decomposition of large quantities of water chestnuts may result in lower dissolved oxygen levels, which can lead to fish kills.

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