In its second year of operation at Black Hawk Lake the Aquatic Vegetation Harvester cut through some very dense underwater foliage this summer and removed an estimated 265 dump truck loads from the lake. Lake View Mayor John Westergaard expects that each year ahead will differ from previous ones, but valuable lessons will be learned along the way as the Harvester team works towards better efficiency. This past season indicated to the team that a full staff needed to be in place much sooner which will allow for the Vegetation Harvester to begin operating earlier in the summer. The floating machine ran this year from sunrise to sunset during the last half of June and all of July. When the amount of vegetation decreased in August the operation hours were lessened with the Harvester’s last day of operation for the year on August 24.
The Lake Harvester cost about $20,000 to operate for the season and Westergaard says it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the project’s many partners including the Iowa DNR, the City of Lake View, Black Hawk LPA, Sac County, and the Lake View Community Club. The Aquatic Vegetation Harvester is part of the community’s lake project which is striving to increase Black Hawk Lake’s water quality. This fall two area farmers will spread the tons of vegetation harvested onto their land as fertilizer once it’s been dried.