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Maxwell Creek, a spawning ground for Lake Trout and Salmon, is a popular area for hikers, tourists, fisherman, local history and outdoor education. It is also a part of Beechwood, a retired Girl Scout Camp, and now an integral part of New York State's State Park leased to the Town of Sodus and to Alasa Academy for alternative learning and recreational use.

The area is heavily populated with wildlife, plantlife and aquatics that all fill a need and a purpose in the circle of life. However, this year, Maxwell Creek's water reservoir appears to be massively over-populated with water chestnuts that are blanketing the surface and choking out the reproduction of multiple kinds of plant life, especially Nymphaeaceae, commonly referred to as water lilies.

The concern had been raised and brought to the attention of the Sodus Town Supervisor, Steve LeRoy who then called Scott DeRue, Water Resource Technician, at the Soil and Water Conservation Department. The two toured the area, noted the severity of the problem and literally called in the troops.

Troops 108 (Rose), 109 (N.Rose), 115 (Wolcott), 172 (Clyde) 122 and 1338 (N. Rose-Wolcott) gathered together this past Saturday with troop leaders and local volunteers to aid the Soil and Water Conservation District with ridding the area of literally thousands of these vicious plants that seem to mass multiply within a matter of a few short days.

The water chestnuts drop seeds that contain barbs on them below into the mud where they are able to embed themselves. Once the seeds root, the plant begins forming a large flower that sits on the surface of the water. The roots range anywhere from four to six feet long providing the water chestnut plant nourishment from the soil below and it receives plenty of sunlight from above. This invasive plant is damaging to many marsh grasses and other aquatic life and can also create a mosquito breeding ground.

The boy and girl scouts canoed to the remote area to begin tackling the large infestation and removed the unwanted plants from the area and tossed them ashore for them to begin decaying. After hours of this, only a small dent was put into the section, however, with the thousands of plants removed, it would eliminate the hundreds of thousands that could possibly seed next season.

"If they are not removed, it pushes out the water lilies and changes the flow of the stream which carries sediment and oxygen. Trout and salmon need high amounts of oxygen. By removing these weeds it creates a stronger current. If the water was slower, it would be water for carp, catfish and bullhead instead.", said DeRue.

The troops are familiar with this type of plant as they have removed these plants from the south side of Bay Bridge over the last several years and have had great success in their removal and lack of re-seeding. DeRue hopes that now that Maxwell Creek is a known problem area that this area can be revisited next year so that eventually the growing problem can soon be erradicated.


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3 Comments to "Scouts Save Maxwell Creek's Water Lilies"

  1. Videomark Said,

    A place where eagles fly over head, I can't think of better place for Boy Scouts to soar towards the highest honor an Eagle Scout. Great job and great way to celebrate 100th year anniversary of the Boy Scouts.

    Posted on Tue Aug 03, 08:49:00 AM EDT

  2. rikostan Said,

    We spent a few hours pulling the chestnut, but the hours just flew by thanks to great attitudes on display.
    Afterward we swam for a little bit in Lake Ontario.
    Even though there were piles of the weed on the shore, it felt like we hardly made a dent in them, but it sounds like the time spent was well worth it.

    Posted on Tue Aug 03, 01:43:00 PM EDT

  3. Anonymous Said,

    Small correction- 108 is the Rose Boy Scout Troop. Thanks for the article!

    Posted on Tue Aug 03, 06:00:00 PM EDT


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