By Pete Jopke, Water Resources Planner with the Dane County Land & Water Resources Department
Article first published in the 2022 Greater Madison Lake Guide, a Clean Lakes Alliance publication
Aquatic plant harvesting on the Yahara lakes
The Dane County Land & Water Resources Department manages an aquatic plant harvesting program with much of the harvesting occurring on lakes Mendota, Monona, Waubesa, and Kegonsa. Occasionally, other smaller waterbodies are harvested to aid in recreation and invasive plant management. The program dates to the early 1980’s when five harvesters were in operation. In those years, harvests totaled over 300 tons of plant material. In 2021, the existing fleet of 12 harvesters recorded plant harvests of more than 12,000 tons!