October 13, 2023
Aquatic Weed Treatments Scheduled for Oct. 24th at Meshanticut Pond
PROVIDENCE, RI – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is advising the public that Meshanticut Pond in Meshanticut State Park, Cranston and Silver Spring Lake, North Kingstown will receive treatments to control infestations of invasive aquatic plants, including sacred lotus, variable water milfoil, and fanwort on Oct. 24. The aquatic weed control treatments are specifically targeted for the invasive nuisance plants and does not harm fish or other aquatic species. These waterbodies are popular with anglers and boaters and are stocked with trout several times during trout season.
Invasive sacred lotus in Meshanticut Pond, Cranston.
Anglers and boaters are advised to avoid using these waterbodies on Oct. 24 when the treatments will be applied. Signs will be posted with information about temporary water use restrictions. During treatment, users should avoid impeding the applicator staff. Neighbors and other users of the pond should not allow domestic pets to drink from the water for at least three days.
On Oct. 2, DEM and students from the University of Rhode Island removed 96 bags of the three-acre sacred lotus population at Meshanticut Pond as part of a collaborative research project studying the most effective methods to treat and manage the invasive aquatic plant. Sacred lotus is a highly aggressive, invasive species that threatens a healthy balance of native plants and impedes fishing and boating opportunities. The plant was illegally transplanted into the pond in 2014 and has grown considerably each year, covering approximately one-quarter of the 12-acre pond in ten years. In 2019, DEM held several community harvesting events to remove the plant from the pond. Despite these efforts and DEM treating the plant with permitted herbicides in 2020 and 2021 to manage its growth, the stubborn and aggressive plant has continued to persist and spread over the pond.
Aquatic weed infestation is a nuisance to anglers, boaters, and swimmers and can affect proper management of freshwater ponds for wildlife. To help control the spread of invasive species, the use of external felt-soled or any natural or synthetic porous material capable of absorbing water in any freshwaters in Rhode Island is strictly prohibited. This includes any waters shared with adjacent states in which Rhode Island fishing regulations apply. The transport of any plant or plant part into or out of any Rhode Island waterbody on boats, vessels, other water conveyances, vehicles, trailers, fishing supplies, or any other equipment is also prohibited. It is recommended that all boaters thoroughly clean their vessels and equipment of attached weeds before and after using the freshwaters of the state. For more information on preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species, click here.
For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow DEM on Facebook, Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM), or Instagram (@rhodeisland.dem) for timely updates.