Many aquatic plants exist within Chautauqua Lake; its nutrient-rich sediments provide a fertile growing bed for vegetation. Some of these plants are native to our area and provide critical ecological and environmental benefits, while others were introduced from distant locales and have been negatively impacting the ecological function, recreational and economic value of Chautauqua Lake. Surprisingly, some of the most prevalent invasives have been with us for decades already, while a steady stream of nearby or newly arriving species poses additional challenges to the future health of the lake.
Like so many lakes in our region, Chautauqua Lake faces its share of invasive species challenges. To the dismay of many boaters, fishermen and landowners, at times these “weeds” form thick mats and create a tangled mess along the shores and in favorite boating or fishing spots throughout the lake.
This summer, the Roger Tory Peterson Institute (RTPI), in partnership with the Chautauqua Lake & Watershed Management Alliance, the County of Chautauqua, and Evergreen Outfitters in Mayville, will be offering a series of public programs and volunteer opportunities focused on Chautauqua Lake’s “weeds”. Through these programs, you can learn how to differentiate the beneficial, native aquatic plant species from the invasive, problematic species, learn what we as individuals and as communities can do to prevent their spread, and participate in volunteer monitoring efforts aimed at detecting new invasive species before they become established.