Hampton Ponds in Westfield will be closed due to these 3 aquatic invasive species

Ashley shook and Kayleigh Thomas

9 hours ago

WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) Hampton Ponds State Park in Westfield is expected to close Thursday due to aquatic invasive species.

According to a press release from the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), officials will work to control aquatic invasive species on Thursday, June 29.


DCR will use a chemical herbicide to eliminate plant species. DCR spokeswoman Ilyse Wolberg told 22news the pond will be closed all day Thursday for swimming, boating and fishing during the treatment.

The chemical herbicide is specific for the removal of curly-leaved duckweed, Eurasian yarrow and variable yarrow. This procedure is nothing new for the DCR.

22News spoke to Westfield resident Emily Pitoniak about her thoughts on these aquatic invasive species in the water. So, I usually go swimming, and now that I think about all the invasive species and everything in there. It’s poisonous … how will it take over?

Mass.gov explains what exactly these invasive species are and their harmful effects:

  • Curly-leaved water lemma: a hardy, aggressive non-native invasive plant.
    • P. crispus can form dense single-species stands that may not provide ideal habitat or food for native wildlife, and these native wildlife populations are often forced to displace or die, resulting in biodiversity loss.
    • P. crispus can hinder boaters, fishermen, water skiers and swimmers, and these water use restrictions can have a negative impact on property values.
    • P. crispus dies in July and as the dense mats decompose, the available oxygen in the water can be depleted. The resulting low oxygen (anoxic) conditions can lead to the killing of fish and harm to other aquatic organisms. Nutrients released by decaying plants can also contribute to algal blooms.
  • Eurasian water yarrow: a submerged invasive aquatic plant that can form dense mats on the water surface.
    • Once established, the Eurasian yarrow can compete with native vegetation and drive off animals that depend on native vegetation for survival.
    • M. spicatum can produce large dense mats of vegetation on the water surface, thus intercepting sunlight to the exclusion of other submerged plants.
    • Sediment levels often rise as Eurasian yarrow abundance increases.
    • The Eurasian yarrow greatly hinders boaters, fishermen, water skiers and swimmers, and these restrictions on water use can have a negative impact on property values.
    • As the dense mats of Eurasian Yarrow decompose, the available oxygen in the water can be greatly reduced. The resulting low-oxygen conditions (anoxia) can lead to fish kills.
  • Variable watermilfoil: a submerged, aquatic-rooted non-native plant with a raccoon-tail or bottle brush appearance.
    • Once established, variable yarrow can compete with native vegetation. Especially that one
    • depend on that native vegetation to survive are forced to relocate or perish,
    • resulting in the loss of biodiversity.
    • The variable yarrow produces dense large carpets of vegetation on the water surface, thus intercepting sunlight and leading to the exclusion of other submerged plants.
    • As variable yarrow plants die and sink to the bottom of the lake, sediment levels rise.
    • Variable yarrow significantly hinders boaters, fishermen, water skiers and swimmers, and these restrictions on water use can have a negative impact on property values.
    • As the dense mats of variable yarrow decompose, the available oxygen in the water is depleted. The resulting low oxygen conditions (anoxia) can lead to the killing of fish and harm to other aquatic organisms

The park is expected to reopen on Friday 30 June. If you are looking for alternative plans, DCR is reminding residents that more state-owned beaches and water facilities will be open for the season, including Chicopee Memorial State Park and Holyoke Heritage State Park, as well as DCR pools in Agawam, Chicopee and Springfield. .Use this link to find a list of statewide DCR designated swim areas and times for the 2023 season.

The weather looks a little drier on Thursday with partly sunny skies and a chance for afternoon showers or thunderstorms. The highs will be in the lower 80s.

7 day forecast

Officials also want to remind all visitors and boaters of the importance of safety on the water.

  • Swim only in or within designated swimming areas. Swimming outside designated swimming areas or at the seashore where swimming is prohibited can be dangerous;
  • Use the buddy system and always tell someone where you’re going;
  • Keep an eye on children near water. Parents and other guardians serve as the first and foremost line of safety for their children;
  • Teach children to always ask permission before going near water;
  • Avoid the consumption of alcohol or drugs;
  • Drink lots of water;
  • Don’t dive headfirst into the water;
  • Do not swim during a thunderstorm or lightning;
  • Make sure you know how to swim. If you can’t swim, stay in shallow areas or use a US Coast Guard-approved life jacket;
  • Don’t swim beyond your skill set;
  • If you’re caught in a rip current, don’t swim against it. Swim parallel to the coast to escape it and then angle towards the beach;
  • When boating, wear a US Coast Guard-approved life jacket; AND
  • If anyone in your party goes missing, check the water and notify lifeguards and park staff immediately.

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