Aquatic Plant Management
Dane County Nuisance Plant Harvesting Program
Dane County Land and Water Resources through its Water Resource Engineering Division manages an Aquatic Plant Harvesting Program for county waters, with support from the Dane County Office of Lakes and Watersheds and the Administration Division. Harvesting follows permit requirements from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and approved Aquatic Plant Management Plans for each waterbody. A variety of elected officials, municipal leaders, and county commissions and committees are very interested in this program.
Dane County currently has a total of 11 mechanical harvesters and assorted other harvesting equipment. The county hires seasonal limited term employees to perform the harvesting. The supervised crews harvest aquatic plants from mid-May until mid-August. Crews are trained to focus on areas with exotic plants and to avoid areas with more native aquatic plants.
Adhering to DNR requirements and operating within the county's limited budget, the county's policy is to cut and harvest Eurasian water milfoil and other invasives to help provide for reasonable use of the lakes for boating, fishing and swimming, and lake level management, while preserving the health and balance of the lake ecosystem. Harvested plants are hauled by truck to remote compost sites.
Current plant harvester locations, harvesting priority maps, and other aquatic plant management information can be found on the Dane County Water Resource Engineering website.
Aquatic Plant Management Plans
Aquatic plant management plans provide an inventory of existing plants in a lake or stream, and describe how native plants will be protected for their role as the foundation of healthy ecosystems, while nuisance non-native species will be controlled and recreational access will be provided. These plans are required by the Department of Natural Resources in order for them to permit aquatic plant harvesting programs under NR 109 Wis. Admin. Code.
The aquatic plant management plans below are the current plans for each waterbody, and were approved by the Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Fish, Crystal, and Indian Lakes
2011 plan and appendices
2011 plan and appendices
Lake Kegonsa and Lower Mud Lake
Jenni and Kyle Preserve Ponds; Tenney, Vilas and Warner Park Lagoons; and Verona Quarry
2007 plan and appendices
Yahara River and Upper Mud Lake
Research and Reports
Aquatic Plant Management Project in Turville Bay
Dane County, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the US Army Corps of Engineers completed the Turville Bay research project in 2013 and published the results as a fact sheet (PDF) and project report (PDF). This project evaluated the response of selective early-season herbicide application and cutting of aquatic plants on Turville Bay, the southwest area of Lake Monona, on Eurasian water milfoil, an invasive aquatic exotic plant) and on native plant communities. Find out more about Eurasian water milfoil on our invasive species page.