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Town to purchase weed harvester to battle lake milfoil

— The Cazenovia town board last week continued moving forward in its battle against watermilfoil and other invasive species in Cazenovia Lake by authorizing the purchase of weed harvesting equipment, seeking a cooperative agreement on harvesting with Madison County and approving a draft environmental impact statement on its planned lake treatment projects for 2014.

None of these actions have been finalized yet, and the draft environmental impact statement, once it has been reviewed by state agencies and approved in final form by the town board, will be open for resident review and public comment for 30 days before the board votes to make it official policy.

The town’s lake treatment plans for this year include a multi-pronged approach using chemical treatment, weed harvesting, benthic mats, possible biological solutions (introducing animals such as moths and weevils into the lake to eat the milfoil) and a continued focus on rainwater run-off mitigation. The town also has a phosphorous study of the lake ongoing, in conjunction with SUNY ESF, which is investigating the sources of the lake’s high phosphorous levels.

“We’re putting quite a bit of time in on lake treatment and weed harvesting,” Town Supervisor Bill Zupan said during the board’s March 10 regular monthly meeting.

In February, the town board solicited bids for a new 2014 model aquatic plant harvester, but rejected the two bids received — both of which were more than $150,000 — as being not in the “best interests” of the town. The board then issued a second round of bids with slightly different specifications for a 2014 plant harvester, which were opened March 4. The two bids received — from the same two companies as the first time, one for $171,000 and one for $153,000 — have not yet been acted on by the town board.

During the March 10 meeting, however, the board discussed the potential purchase of a used 2003 aquatic weed harvester that it had identified and examined recently.

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