Aquatic Plant Harvesting – Lake 4

This is the very beginning of a new era of lake water quality management in Highland Lakes. The Ecology Committee Aquatic Plant Life Team, led by Bob Reffelt, has proposed that the club begin using more weed harvesting rather than relying on chemical management of weeds. Early in May the Club had a site visit with a weed harvesting vendor to see what can be done at Highland Lakes using this technique. During the site visit, we observed that Lake 4 was already approximately 20% covered by weeds breaching the surface. The vendor offered to begin harvesting the weeds last weekend and the club has contracted with them to do this. A very timely and decisive decision!

In brief, weed harvesting is cutting weeds up to 5 feet in depth and removing the cuttings from the water. Some of the plant is left behind so that the plant can continue to provide oxygen into the water and absorb nutrients that can cause algae blooms. To use the vendors’ analogy, it is like mowing the lawn for the lake. Like mowing the lawn, it must be done regularly (just not weekly).

The club is working on a plan for weed harvesting this year and those details are being determined and will be presented to the voting board soon. This current cleanup is just a quick attempt to remediate weed issues in Lake 4. The harvesting has started and will continue for another few days.

The weeds for this project will be delivered to a local farmer who will be using the weeds in their composting operation. As we do more weed harvesting, we will be looking for ecologically friendly ways to use the cuttings versus sending them to the dump.

Stay tuned for more on aquatic plant harvesting.

Best Regards,

Mike O’Neill

Ecology Committee Chair