Aquatic Vegetation Management

HARVESTING PROGRAM OVERVIEW AND GOALS

Honeoye Lake is a shallow, eutrophic (nutrient rich) lake. It supports abundant plant growth that may impede boating and other lake uses. Ontario County works with the Towns of Canadice and Richmond to deliver a seasonal aquatic vegetation management program. A mechanical harvester is used to cut and remove the top three to seven feet of vegetation around the perimeter where access is most impaired. This program is now in its fourth decade (since 1987).

 

Aquatic plants provide oxygen to the lake, and food and protection for a variety of lake organisms. Mechanical harvesting is intended to manage, but not eliminate, plant growth. Aquatic plants also take up nutrients from the lake sediments, acting as a “nutrient sink”. Removal of vegetation from Honeoye Lake also removes nutrients that would be recycled back into the lake upon plant death and decay. Harvested plant material is used for compost at area farms. The Honeoye Lake Aquatic Vegetation Management Program (AVMP) also operates a shoreline management program to pick up plant debris at the shoreline. Some plant fragments from harvesting operations may be blown to shore, as are plants cut by boats, pulled up with anchors, or broken off on windy days. A small work barge or the harvester (backing into shore in certain areas) are used to pick up plant debris. Residents assist by raking plants at shore into piles or rows. At times, the harvester may be used to skim (not cut) an area to pick up plant fragments. While the AVMP has an operations strategy based on where excessive plant growth is dense, residents are encouraged to contact the program office when impacted to request harvesting or shoreline pickup. In impacted areas, neighbors are encouraged to work together to coordinate harvesting and shoreline pickup requests. 

 

The goals of the Honeoye Lake AVMP are to:

1) Open up lake access for recreational uses by cutting aquatic plants that have reached the lake surface or close to it. No harvesting occurs in the state regulated wetland at the south end of the lake.

2) Remove nutrients from the lake environment.

3) Aid circulation of water in areas choked by weeds and/or fragments.

For more information and operations updates, go to Ontario County's AVMP web page:  https://www.co.ontario.ny.us/452/Aquatic-Vegetation-Management-Program

Mechanical harvesting is a practice recommended in the 2008 Honeoye Lake Macrophyte Management Plan. Learn more here.

2020 Macrophyte Survey

The 2020 macrophyte survey was completed on June 29, 2020 and June 30, 2020. A macrophyte is defined as an aquatic plant that can be seen with the naked eye. The macrophyte survey provides critical data that can be used by the weed harvesting program to determine the most significant areas of vegetation.

Below are the macrophyte maps of the Honeoye Lake Northern and Southern basins. The colors represent how much of the water column the vegetation is occupying in %. For example; red means that the vegetation at that location is occupying 90-100% of the water column. In red areas you can usually see the top of the vegetation.


Red ~90-100%

Yellow/Orange ~50-90%

Green ~15-50%

Blue ~0-15%

The 2019 marcophyte survey was conducted on June 21, 2019 and June 22, 2019. The maps are included below. Compared to the 2019 survey, the 2020 macrophyte density is significantly higher.

June 2020 Northern Basin

June 2019 Northern Basin

August 2020 Northern Basin

August 2019 Northern Basin

June 2020 Southern Basin

August 2020 Southern Basin

June 2019 Southern Basin

August 2019 Southern Basin

Honeoye Lake Watershed Task Force Members:

Town of Richmond

Town of Canadice

Town of Bristol

Town of South Bristol

Town of Naples

Honeoye Valley Association