Mechanical Weed Control

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Mechanical Harvesting & Hydro-Raking

Aquatic Control owns and operates one of the largest fleets of Harvesting, Hydro Raking, Dredging and support machinery found anywhere in the country.  We’ve harvested and raked more than 5,000 acres of nuisance vegetation, often under the most difficult operating conditions. This experience enables us to quickly determine whether mechanical Harvesting, Hydro Raking or Dredging is an appropriate management strategy for your pond or lake problem.

Harvesting

Mechanical cutting/harvesting is a most effective technique for achieving “area selective” control of nuisance aquatic vegetation. Harvesting is well suited   for clearing nuisance vegetation from ponds, coves of larger lakes and cutting channels or lanes through dense vegetation to enhance access for swimming, boating or fishing. Harvesting can be performed on all different species of vegetation, yet we find it to be most effective for plants forming a dense surface canopy or for annual plants like water chestnut (Trapa), which reproduce from seed.

Typically, 1-2 harvests are recommended to provide “summer-long” control. An intensive program of harvesting can result in long-term benefits where nutrient removal via plant biomass is significant or annual, seed producing plants dominate.

The front of the harvester contains a cutting mechanism and hydraulic lifts for raising and lowering the cutting depth. Once weeds are cut, a conveyor belt carries the weeds on board to a holding area beneath the operator’s platform. A conveyor in the rear of the vessel off-loads the collected plant matter to trucks on-shore which carry it away. Harvesters are powered by two paddle wheels which can be operated individually, allowing for a high degree of maneuverability for such a large machine. Pontoons on either side of the harvester keep it afloat, even when loaded down with hundreds of pounds of water soaked plant material.

Advantages

  • Plant biomass and nutrients are removed from the waterbody
  • Area selective control of nuisance species
  • No temporary water use restrictions
  • More affordable than most other techniques
  • Effectiveness often enhanced when combined with other strategies
  • Long-term control attainable for certain species

Experience

Aquatic Control owns and operates one of the largest fleet of harvesting and support machinery anywhere in the northeast and the country.   We’ve harvested more than 7,500 acres of nuisance vegetation, often under the most difficult operating conditions. This experience enables us to quickly determine whether harvesting is an appropriate management strategy for your pond or lake problem. If harvesting is decided upon, the client is assured of the most efficient selection of machinery and experienced operating personnel to ensure a productive and successful project.

Representative Projects

  • Morses Pond (Wellesley, MA)
  • Indian Lake (Sharon, CT)
  • Stockbridge Bowl (Stockbridge, MA)
  • Bantam Lake (Litchfield, CT)
  • Lake Winnipesaukee (Wolfeboro, NH)
  • Potomac River (VA, MD)
  • Lake Champlain (Orwell, VT)
  • Silver Lake (Rhinebeck, NY)
  • Mount Holyoke College Ponds (So. Hadley, MA)
  • Lake Cidra (Cidra, Puerto Rico)
  • Monponsett Pond (Halifax, MA)
  • Bartlett Pond (Northborough, MA)
  • Charles River (Newton, MA)

Harvester Operating Specifications

H5-200 H7-400 H8-650
Draft Empty (inches) 8 12 12
Draft Full (inches) 12 18 20
Width of Cut (feet) 5 7 8
Depth of Cut (feet) 0-5 0-7 0-5
Load Storage Capacity (cubic feet/pounds) 200/3000 400/7000 650/10000
Productivity (acres per hour)* 0.20-0.30 0.30-0.40 0.40-0.60

*Productivity may differ from above depending upon; 1) plant density, 2) distance to on-shore, off-loading site(s), 3) frequency of bottom obstructions and other factors.

Hydro-Raking

Mechanical raking (Hydro-Raking) is a widely used and effective technique for area selective removal of nuisance, rooted vegetation. In some situations the Hydro-Rake is also used to clear accumulations of unconsolidated bottom debris (i.e. decaying leaves, peat, muck). The Hydro-Rake can best be described as a floating barge upon which is mounted a backhoe with several different size and functioning rake attachments. The Hydro-Rake is powered by a Diesel engine which drives the hydraulically operated paddle wheel propulsion system and back-hoe functions. The Hydro-Rake can operate in water as shallow as 1.0 -1.5 feet and can remove nuisance vegetation and bottom debris from variable water depths as shallow as a few inches to a maximum depth of 12 feet. Duration of nuisance plant control varies, but is typically “summer long” for species such as water milfoil (Myriophyllum sp.) to 2-3 years or longer for plants with well   developed root systems (i.e. waterlilies, cattails, etc.)

The Hydro-Rake works from the water and can therefore access coves and shoreline areas otherwise inaccessible to conventional machinery. Damage to valuable shoreline habitat and waterfront property are avoided with the Hydro-Rake. The Hydro-Rake deposits each rake full (maximum 500 lbs.) of material directly on-shore. Where travel distances for shoreline off-loading are excessive or access is limited,   Aquatic Control can provide a Harvester/Transporter vessel to work with the Hydro- Rake. Upland disposal of Hydro-Raked material may either be handled by the client or Aquatic Control can provide optional trucking and disposal services.

Advantages

  • Plants/debris removed at the sediment/water interface
  • Operating range in water depths of <1 feet to 12 feet
  • Removes plants and roots systems
  • One Hydro-Raking typically provides seasonal to 1-3 years or longer of nuisance plant control
  • Clearing of selective areas including beaches, boating/fishing lanes, etc.
  • No chemical introduction or water use restrictions
  • Minimal disturbance to shoreline landscapes
  • Cost is far less than dredging

Experience

Aquatic Control has logged in excess of 15,000 hours of Hydro-Rake operation on more than 200 ponds, lakes, rivers and other aquatic systems. These projects have included: municipal and private beach/swim areas; private estate and corporate ponds; sedimentation ponds; fish and game club ponds and others.

Representative Projects

  • Morses Pond (Wellesley, MA)
  • Lake Winnipesaukee (Wolfeboro, MA)
  • Cobbetts Pond (Windham, NH)
  • Silver Lake (Rhinebeck, NY)
  • Glenmere Lake (Florida, NY)
  • Hunns Lake (Stanfordville, NY)
  • Elizabethtown Water Treatment Pond (Elizabethtown, NJ)
  • Red Lily Pond (Barnstable, MA)
  • Candlewood Lake (Danbury, CT)
  • Bantam Lake (Litchfield, CT)
  • Lake St. Catherine (Poultney, VT)