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Chautauqua County officials ask public’s help fighting invasive water plants

STOW - Chautauqua County officials asked for the public’s help today in fighting a pair of invasive plant species that could threaten the ecosystem of Chautauqua Lake.

Boaters and other recreational users are asked to contact Jeff Diers, the county’s watershed coordinator. if they spot either the invastive water chestnut plant or hydrilla in the lake.

The chestnut species was first found in the lake last summer. County officials quickly eradicated it.

If left unchecked, chestnut plants can spread rapidly, choking off parts of the popular inland lake to boaters and other recreational users as well as key industries in the county.

The hydrilla was discovered last summer in Tonawanda Creek, but county officials fear the species could reach their shores by way of boat or other means.

They asked the public to be alert.

“These are weeds that can cover the lake en masse,” said Linda Barber, president of the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy. “That’s why we want to be on top of this.”

Diers can be reached at (716) 661-8915.