Invasive water chestnuts have been found in Fairview Township in Mercer County.

They are growing in a state-owned flood control zone.

The Mercer County Conservation District is concerned the water chestnuts will spread to nearby recreational lakes. They told 21 News the very sharp and hard nuts are dangerous.

"They will puncture gear. Anyone who is hunting or fishing. this can pose a threat to you," said Larissa Cassano-Hamilton of the Mercer County Conservation District. "Also it gets stuck on boats and things like that, so recreationally, no one wants to have these at their beach at Stoneboro Lake or Sandy Lake."

The rooted aquatic plant consisting of submerged and floating leaves could cause ecological issues.

"It kind of creates a blanket on top of the water and it doesn't let sunlight in. So it out-competes our native plants which is a problem," said Cassano Hamilton.

Water chestnut has a high reproductive rate.

Each plant can produce up to 15 nuts per season.  While the plant itself will only last one season, it's the abundance of nuts with the four sharp pines that could cause lasting problems.  They can last over a decade.  

They can also get caught in the feathers of birds or the fur of animals, then spread to other bodies of water.

"So beavers can transport it. Waterfowl can transport it. So it could indirectly cause some issues," Cassano-Hamilton said.

If you notice water chestnuts growing, contact the Mercer County Conservation District.