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Cazenovia weed harvester takes to the lake

The Cazenovia town weed harvester at work on Cazenovia Lake removing milfoil and other invasive species.

The Cazenovia town weed harvester at work on Cazenovia Lake removing milfoil and other invasive species.

— For the past two weeks, Cazenovia residents and visitors may have seen a strange-looking boat out on Cazenovia Lake — like a diminutive paddleboat with a treadmill in the front, and often covered with weeds. This is the town of Cazenovia’s newly purchased weed harvester, and it has been working to divest the lake of milfoil since late June.

“We’ve been working 10-hour days, four days a week,” said Town Highway Superintendent Tim Hunt, who has been supervising the weed harvesting program. “So far, we’ve taken eight, 10-wheel dump truck loads of weeds off the lake.”

The town board approved the purchase of the weed harvester and accompanying shore conveyer machine this spring as part of its overall treatment plan to fight milfoil and other invasive species in Cazenovia Lake. In addition to weed harvesting, the town has already applied a treatment of the chemical herbicide Renovate (triclopyr) to the lake and is again offering its benthic mat rental program to lakeside residents.

“It’s all part of the lake management plan for controlling weeds; we’re taking a holistic approach,” Town Supervisor Bill Zupan has said at previous town board meetings.

The town spent $76,557 to purchase the used 2003 aquatic weed harvester and the new 2014 shore conveyor this spring, as well as hired two seasonal employees for the town highway department to operate the machinery.

The harvesting began during the week of June 23.

“We’ve been out on the lake seven days with the boat, … [and] we’ll be working every day for rest of summer, unless its storming,” Hunt said.

The harvesting is currently ongoing at the north end of the lake, with the conveyer stationed at Owera Point beach, and the crew will outward from there during the summer, Hunt said.

When the harvester gets filled with weeds, the crew uses the conveyer to move the load into town dump trucks. There are three boat loads in one truckload of weeds, Hunt said. The trucks take the weeds to the town highway garage, where they are dumped into a compost pile, the results of which will be offered free to town residents next year, he said.

The weed harvesting in Cazenovia Lake is scheduled to conclude in mid-September, or after 13 weeks of work.

Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at editor@cazenoviarepublican.com.

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