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Volunteers battle invasive aquatic plant - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Volunteers battle invasive aquatic plant

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ST. ALBANS, Vt. -

An effort is underway to save St. Albans Bay from an invasive aquatic plant.

Water chestnut has plagued Lake Champlain for 80 years but it's never popped up in Black Creek Marsh until now.

Friday, volunteers took to the water in canoes and kayaks with laundry baskets strapped on board. Their plan is to scour the area for water chestnut and rip out an estimated 1,500 plants before they become a massive problem. Experts say an infestation will block sunlight from reaching the bottom of the lake, destroying fish habitats and preventing anything else from growing. The question now is will this hand pulling plan work?

"We do have a number of lakes in Vermont that we've successfully been able to remove water chestnut from. We do annual searches on lakes that we know have had chestnut. And of the 25, there are 12 that continuously report no more water chestnut after we've been in there for 10 years or so," said Ryan Colarusso of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation.

The invasive plant makes its way into new waterways by hitching rides on boats.

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