Friday, June 15, 2007

Beating back aquatic entropy on Dane County lakes with an aggressive new weedwhacking fleet

What with all the nutrients pouring into Dane County lakes from farms, yards and street runoff, beating back the tide of aquatic entropy is a big job. If Mother Nature had her way, the entire Madison area would soon revert to some modern version of the marshy wetlands that prevailed here when white settlers first came to the area. The Capitol Square would be an island in a marsh.

It won't happen, of course, but for a while there, it did look as if Mother Nature was winning. Big old leaky weed-cutting barges were slow, inefficient and sometimes sank. But the 2005 Dane County Budget appropriated funds for modernizing the fleet.
A three-year program is started in the budget to replace aging weed cutter barges. It also continues upgrading the Sheriff’s Lake Patrol with the purchase of a new boat ($65,000). In both instances, the state will partner with the county by offering 60% funding reimbursement of the barge and of almost 70% over five years for the patrol boat.

Supervisor Bill Graf said, "Even in a tight budget, neglecting our lakes should not be an option. Replacing the aging, leaky weed barges that keep breaking down and even sinking will increase the amount of weed harvesting we can do by reducing down time for maintenance and repairs."
We're starting to see the results, and they're impressive, as seen off Olin Park this morning. The new weedwackers are like 21st-century paddlewheelers making a relentless assault on the invasive species that threaten to clog our lakes, snag propellers and wreck the view. Did you know you could get updates on the fleet's progress on the internet? Here's today's report:
Harvester (Cutter) location(s) - June 15th

Current Harvesting Shift is 6:30 AM to 3:00 PM

Harvesters are working on the following lakes:

Lottes Park Landing- 2 Harvesters
Lake Monona:
Monona Bay - 2 Harvesters
Olin / John Nolan - 4 Harvesters moving towards Law Park
Lake Mendota:
Warner Bay - 1 Harvester

Shoreline Residents: Once a year pickup of shoreline trash and aquatic debris
Lakes Mendota and Kegonsa - Monday June 11, 2007 Beginning at 6:00 AM
Lakes Monona and Waubesa - Monday June 18, 2007 Beginning at 6:00 AM
Barges will reach your pier that week.

Yes: Aquatic Vegetation (lake weeds, algae) debris washed up on shore
No: Yard Waste or brush (grass clippings, leaves, tree limbs), household waste (garbage, pet waste, etc)
Want to find out more about local lake management? There's more.

1 comment:

sssssssssstu said...

Just thinkin... if the algae growth is triggered by too many nutrients in the lakes, doesn't killing the growth actually make the nutrient concentration higher and therefore the lakes more fertile? Just wondering...
Maybe the idea is to let the plants reach a certain size where their growth starts to slow down then clear cut them and remove them along with all those used nutrients?