Milfoil eradication making progress

With the exception of a $100,000 grant from the state Department of Environmental Conservation when the project began and another small grant from Onondaga County, all of the funds that have kept the project afloat have been private funds, Werner said.

"We hope to get some more donations from people at the south end of the lake," he said. "There's plenty of it down there, but there also was plenty of it at the north end."

Much of the problematic weed has been removed from the north end of the lake and now the divers are focusing on pulling what's left in the southern portion.

While the hills are higher in the south, Werner said there is plenty milfoil growing in the habitat at that end of Skaneateles Lake and "is getting pretty well filled in."

To help raise money for the project, the organization was chosen to receive the funds raised during the Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce and Skaneateles Lions Club golf tournament recently. According to Werner, the unofficial money count from the tournament was $7,500 and the group also has other events planned to help raise funds for the milfoil eradication project.

"The key is getting the word out to as many people as possible," he said.

Menapace said the funding is used to pay the divers and also for the insurance needed to cover the divers. All the equipment -- the six boats and all of the suction equipment -- has been paid for.

Once the lake is cleared of milfoil, the group will begin a maintenance program in which teams will dive a few times a week to pull out any milfoil that has grown back, Menapace said.

"The plan is right now to have one or two boats depending on how severe the regrowth is, and they will go and get any regrowth," he said. "The regrowth has been very slow in Skaneateles Lake. We've been very lucky."

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