Windsong Farm extracts milfoil from lake in test area
By Willie Kiernan
The Cazenovia Lake Foundation offered a $13,110 grant to Windsong Farm for two milfoil dredging machines, but first Joe Weinheimer, president of Windsong, had to prove what they could do by clearing a test area with the machine he already owns.
"A thousand plus square feet in three hours!" said Bob Wondrack, President of CLF. "The aerial photographer told us it looked like it was hit by a bomb."
Windsong used their machine to clear away an area near Gypsy Bay with an unusually high density of milfoil as a test. The tool and crew aced the test by clearing more than 1,000 square feet in three hours.
"The results have been beyond anything I anticipated," Wondrack said.
The dredger operates on the water ejector principle in which two high pressure supply pumps feed a flow of water through a nozzle and venturi that effects a vacuum in the suction pipe that removes the mifoil from the lake bed. The operators of the dredge are certified scuba divers, and they estimate that each dredge does the work that four divers could perform manually.
"The extraction of the weeds is too efficient for the collection process on the boat," Wondrack said. "Joe and his crew are experimenting with various ideas to streamline this end of the equation."
Six of these same type of machines are currently being operated in Skaneateles Lake, and they have removed four acres of mifoil so far this season from that body of water.
"We know how they do it in Skaneateles, and aren't thrilled with their system," Wondrack said.
The next plan of action is the delivery of the other two extractors. The manufacturer is four miles from the firestorm in California and has had numerous power outages.
"We are all looking into innovative ways to handle the collection and hauling away situation," Wondrack said. "We're surprised that most of the calls Joe is receiving are from individuals, and not from all of the homeowners groups. Currently he has individual properties he is working on, and has a bid in to the village for the swimming area.
Windsong can be reached at 447-3311.