Honeoye Lake Watershed Task Force
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.