Picking up weeds

Dane County crews will pick up weeds and other lake debris from the piers of Monona residents and city parks this summer. The goal is to improve water quality for the health of the lake ecosystem and recreational activities for residents and tourists.

A Dane County partnership with Madison to pick up weeds from residents’ piers is expanding this year to the Monona side of Lake Monona.

The county joined Madison, Monona and the Friends of Lake Kegonsa Society to have a shoreline barge crew pick up aquatic trash and debris from residents’ piers on Lake Mendota, Lake Monona and Lake Kegonsa during the summer months.

The crew will collect only aquatic vegetation and other debris that has washed up on shore. They will not pick up yard waste, brush or household waste.

Monona Mayor Mary O’Connor said crews had previously only picked up from Monona residents’ piers if time allowed.

“They occasionally came over here, but it wasn’t on a regular basis,” she said.

Vegetation must be placed on the pier by 7 a.m. Monday during the designated pickup week.

“There is no specific day when they will be here,” O’Connor said. “It will be a designated week, every other week throughout summer.”

Pickup of weeds and debris in Monona will cost the city about $5,000, which will be taken from the stormwarer funds account, the mayor said.

The program will also help the city in that county crews will also pick up from city parks and piers.

For Monona residents, pickup weeks will be June 3, June 17, July 1, July 15, July 29, Aug. 12 and Aug. 26.

On Lake Kegonsa, pickup will be this week, June 24, July 29, Aug. 26 and Sept. 23.

The Dane County Land & Water Resources Department also manages an aquatic plant harvesting program for county waters.

The county hires seasonal, limited-term employees to perform the harvesting. The supervised crews harvest aquatic plants from mid-May until mid-August using 11 mechanical harvesters and other harvesting equipment.

Adhering to DNR requirements, the county’s policy is to cut and harvest Eurasian water milfoil and other invasive species to help provide for recreational use of the lakes for boating, fishing and swimming, and lake level management, while preserving the health and balance of the lake ecosystem. Also, aquatic plant cutting in the Yahara River is performed for flood mitigation. Harvested plants are hauled by truck to remote compost sites.

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