Cleaning up the Mystic River – Water Chestnut Removal to Begin

Volunteers remove water chestnut from the Mystic River.

Volunteers remove water chestnut from the Mystic River.

On Wednesday, June 15 the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) will launch the seventh year of water chestnut removal efforts. Native to Asia, Europe and Africa, water chestnut thrives in the nutrient rich waters of the Mystic River Watershed, including the Arlington Reservoir– in some places extending nearly shore to shore. This vegetative mat impedes boating, fishing, and swimming and crowds out native plants. Additionally, the decomposition of large quantities of water chestnuts lowers dissolved oxygen, which can lead to fish kills.

Volunteers from the local area will hand-pull this invasive plant from the Arlington Reservoir – an initiative funded through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program. Bank of America, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S.D.A. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, FedEx, Southern Company and Alcoa participate in this conservation program in support of the environment and helping our local communities.

MyRWA partners with corporations, local businesses, and community groups throughout the summer to offer fun and rewarding group volunteer opportunities. Using canoes, volunteers pull water chestnuts out of the water by hand and collect the material on shore for composting.

Additional events are scheduled for the community to be involved on Saturdays, June 18th, July 16th and July 30th. Events run from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. All supplies are provided for these family-friendly events. The June 18th event will tackle water chestnut at the Arlington Reservoir on Lowell St. Check the website for locations of the July events. Boats are limited so please register in advance at

If you have any questions contact the Water Chestnut Project Coordinator at