If you have been following our updates you know we have recently completed three weeks of mechanical harvesting on Devils Lake. The main goal of that project was to gain on lake experience with harvesting while removing as much elodea as we could. In the meantime, the condition of the lake has evolved with large masses of plant material floating to the surface eventually gathering in various locations around the lake.
We have learned from our research that this calving is part of the elodea’s survival strategy. These large mats eventually sink to the bottom where they overwinter and emerge next spring as a new population of plants. In the meantime, they act as a nearly impenetrable “reef” of material that can stop a boat in its tracks. Normally our wind patterns would deposit nearly all of this material on the Southern shore but this has been an unusual fall with winds blowing from the North, South, and East. This has resulted in elodea rafts being deposited all over the lake, with highest concentrations still on our Southern shoreline.
Faced with this reality the Devils Lake Water Improvement District board has located a second harvesting company with a machine available for use in Devils Lake. The District was able to procure a harvester and a crew to operate it out of the bay area in California from Aquatic Harvesting Inc. They will be arriving September 19th and operating the harvester on our lake for up to a month. This is a different machine than the one we had on the lake in August with a 8 foot wide cutter, a cutting depth of 6 feet and a much larger capacity to store cut weeds. It also is better equipped for unloading the material on the shore once cut.
The goal of this second project is to remove as much material as possible from the lake. If these rafts of elodea effectively are the seeds of next year's weeds we want to get as much of that out of the lake as possible in hopes that it will slow the expansion of this infestation.
This project has come together quickly and is truly a community effort. Several of our local businesses are assisting the District in getting this off the ground. Our sincere appreciation goes out to North Lincoln Sanitary Service, Sexton Construction, and Whistler Construction for their invaluable help. We will also need volunteer help from our community, please consider raising your hand for the effort. If you know of anyone that we can put on the list to volunteer to operate an excavator to load the dump trailers, transport the dump trailers to the dumping location and return the dump trailers to the lake loading site, or if you're willing to occasionally help clean up our offload sites please let us know.
Harvesting is an expensive proposition and the Devils Lake Neighborhood Association has solicited and collected many donations to fund our first project. This second project will be primarily funded by the Devils Lake Water Improvement District who help fund the DLNA project. Our remaining harvesting funds will be forwarded to the District to help fund this important project. We are still accepting donations, so if you made a donation and still want to help or if you committed to a donation and are not sure where to make the payment you can follow this link or the button in the sidebar. All harvester donations will be forwarded to the District to help defer the cost of operations over the next month.
Additionally, the District is working out the details of relocating a harvester owned by Aquatic Harvesting Inc. to Devils Lake which will be its permanent home for the next 4-5 years. This machine includes a barge that connects to the harvester making the offloading task more efficient. This will guarantee we have a harvester on the lake next spring to begin removing the new growth as it appears. Harvesting represents an important component of the District's vegetation management plan which also includes herbicide and the eventual reintroduction of grass carp in the lake.
Thank you all for your participation in this season’s harvesting projects. This is all new to our community but we have gained some valuable experience and hopefully began to reduce the weed population in Devils Lake.