Melrose Residents Plan Water Chestnut Ell Pond Cleanup
MELROSE, MA – Members of the Melrose community interested in helping clean up Ell’s Pond in town will have the opportunity to do so this weekend when a group of volunteers plan to hand-pick chestnuts from invasive pond water.
Organized in coordination with the Melrose Conservation Commission, residents will kayak to the pond on Saturday, August 6 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
The hand-pulling is intended to complement the city’s recent work to remove water chestnuts using a mechanical harvester. This work is part of an ongoing multi-year initiative.
Water chestnuts are an aquatic plant capable of growing densely while displacing native species, as noted in a notice of intent from the city related to its mechanical harvesting work.
The plants were first documented in Ell’s Pond several years ago, prompting early attempts at hand-pulling to manage their spread. While those efforts slowed the water chestnut’s advance, they did not eradicate its presence in the pond, according to city documents.
By September of last year, the west and north creeks of the pond were “completely covered” in water chestnut growth. According to a city survey, dense growth was also crawling along sections of shoreline elsewhere in the pond.
Hydro-raking to rip sections of water chestnut growth began earlier this summer. Volunteers are now inviting people with access to a kayak to join them on the pond on Saturday to pluck more water chestnuts. Drawing by hand, note the organizers, remains necessary.
Those without a kayak are also welcome to help pick up plants from the shore and dispose of them properly.
“If you would like to volunteer to help keep Ell Pond healthy for present and future generations, we would love to have you!” organizers said in an announcement for this weekend’s event.
Those interested in volunteering can fill out a Google form for the event in advance or show up on Saturday morning.