Village of Scotia weeding out Collins Lake

Collins Lake is partially covered with watercress, milfoil and lily pads in Collins Park in Scotia on Aug. 8, 2021.

Collins Lake is partially covered with watercress, milfoil and lily pads in Collins Park in Scotia on Aug. 8, 2021.

Pat and Winslow Dalrymple used to visit Collins Lake in Scotia all the time, picnicking there and letting their kids swim in the lake. 

But over the last several years she said the lake has gone downhill and become overrun with weeds. They want the village to fix the problem.

Just looking from Collins Park, which surrounds the lake, you might not see exactly what the Dalrymples are talking about, but below the surface of the water two invasive species have been growing for years. 

It’s unclear when milfoil was introduced in the lake, but water chestnut has been growing there anywhere from 100 to 200 years, according to village officials.

Scotia Mayor Tom Gifford said the village is working to resolve the issue.

“We’ve been working on it for years,” he said. 

Between 1988 and 1992 the town was dredging the lake to remove the water chestnut. However, Parks and Recreation Superintendent Jim Marx said the town had to stop after Native American artifacts were discovered. 

Then, he said the town tried pulling the invasive species by hand. But that ended about 10 years ago due to a lack of people. Marx said part of the problem was the town closed the lake to swimming after tropical storms Irene and Lee hit, causing the Mohawk River to overflow into the lake, bringing along sediment. That sediment caused visibility difficulties for lifeguards to ensure safety–in turn shutting down the lake to swimming and no need for lifeguards. It was those lifeguards that would go out in the lake and help pick water chestnuts, Marx said.

Marx said the village has a new plan to mitigate the plant. The plan starts in the spring of next year when the village will treat the lake with a water herbicide. Marx, who wasn’t in his office Friday, couldn’t recall the exact chemical name of the product being used or how much it cost. That treatment will also need to happen again in Spring 2023. Then for every year after that, Marx said the village will need to find people to help pull what weeds are left or have sprung up again.

The town also had a plan to eradicate milfoil which it implemented this June, Marx said.

He said the town paid $16,000 to treat the entire lake with a water herbicide to kill off the milfoil that was growing. 

“That’s the predominant weed,” Marx said.

It’s also the weed that easily catches on to boats. 

Marx said that’s why it’s important for people to clean their boats. He said the town doesn’t have a boat washing station like at other lakes but does have a sign encouraging people to clean their boats. 

The milfoil treatment is good for five or six years and then the lake will need to be treated again, Marx said. 

The village also has machines at various locations around the lake that are feeding air into the lake through a giant tube, Gifford said. He said extra air in the water helps to mitigate the weeds.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

JOSEPH P SNAPP September 25, 2021
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From NYS: “T. natans is native to Western Europe and Africa and northeast Asia, including eastern Russia, China, and southeast Asia to Indonesia. T. natans was first introduced to North America in the mid- to late-1870s, when it is known to have been introduced into the Cambridge botanical garden at Harvard University around 1877. It is known to have been planted in other ponds in that area, as well, and also in Concord, MA, in a pond near the Sudbury River. The plant escaped cultivation and was found growing in the Charles River by 1879. The plant was introduced into Collins Lake near Scotia, NY (in the Hudson River-Mohawk River drainage basin) around 1884, possibly as an intentional introduction for waterfowl food or possibly as a water garden escapee.”

F B STRAUSS August 9, 2021
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I stepped on my first water chestnut in Collins Lake, and at the time had a sentimental wish that it was covered with sediment.

Nan Mossey August 9, 2021
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