Saratoga Lake Aquatic Weed Harvesting

The aquatic weed harvesting program is to allow boating access to the deeper water areas of the lake and special projects to combat aquatic invasives.  The weed harvesters are not for in shore private property use.  This is for several reasons:

  • New York State Department Of Environmental Conservation Fisheries Manager has  requested that harvesting be minimized when ever possible to preserve fish habitat.
  • Operating the harvesters in between the docks is difficult,  this puts the harvesters  at risk as well as private property for damage.
  • Working near shore puts the harvester and operator at risk due to submerged  pipe lines, old dock debris, and the risk of hitting docks or boats is great. Harvesting is for boating access, only to clear paths.  Areas in front of and in between docks, boats, moored boats, swim docks and shoreline are the land owners responsibility.
  • The harvesters stay away from all personal property.
  • Harvesting near docks and closer to shore, may happen but it has to be limited and in response to a specific problem and when the harvesters are in that area.  In the same way that the fire department would pump out a property that has been flooded.
  • The SLPID board expresses the focus of the harvesting program has to be for access to deep water and cannot for in shore personal use clean-up.

Whether it is seen as good or bad, aquatic vegetation (lake weed) is a part of lake living. All summer long, the aquatic weed harvesting team is very busy on the lake with two aquatic weed harvesters cutting back the lake weeds. As the summer continues, the increase of warmer weather and sunshine has promoted more weed growth. The aquatic weed harvesters cut up to 15 truckloads or 20-25 tons a day.

The weeds are cut and loaded onto a conveyor belt with minimal fall off. The harvesters cut leaving a band and then returning to pick up any fragments left behind. This is the best strategy that is followed in the state to assure there is minimal spread. The aquatic harvesters have the least impact on fish and other aquatic wildlife in the lake assuring an eco-friendly future. The vegetation is then trucked off to nearby farms and used for compost.

Some property owners like to maintain the weeds on their lake frontage. When clearing weeds on your lake frontage and around your docks, it is advisable that the weeds are removed out of the lake. Not only is this courtesy and respect to your other neighbors – so the weeds do not wash up on their frontage – but, this helps to control weed growth as the weed fragments are responsible for spread.

Piling weeds along the shoreline, on rocks or in a nearby stream or pond also facilitates the growth and is not suggested. The vegetation can be used as fertilizer and compost for garden beds or dried, bagged and brought to a nearby composting station. When boating, please take caution and do not go through weed beds as this is another way of spreading weed growth.