We have been involved in managing established aquatic invasive species populations in the Adirondack Park since 1999, with the initiation of Eurasian watermilfoil control activities in Upper Saranac Lake. In 2004 we began an unprecedented intensive whole-lake milfoil control effort in Upper Saranac Lake using diver hand-harvesting that was highly successful. This effort was carefully monitored using permanent underwater transects and we shared the results in numerous formats to demonstrate that diver hand-harvesting can be a viable method for controlling Eurasian watermilfoil even at large scales. The Upper Saranac Lake findings provided scientific justification for wider use of hand-harvesting and also helped start up Aquatic Invasive Management (AIM), a highly successful private business working to control AIS in the Adirondacks and beyond.
The management team uses hand-harvesting to remove aquatic plants, typically with a four person crew consisting of three divers supplied with breathing air by a floating hookah rig and a top water support person. The divers remove the entire aboveground portion of the plants and as much root material as possible and then place the plants in mesh bags that are handed off to a top water support person when full. The top water support person also collects plant fragments floating on the surface and warns boaters away from the dive area. Harvested materials are disposed of at designated sites approved by local and state authorities. The team also maintains a daily log of activities, which includes mapping work areas with GPS and reporting plant removals. This data is transferred into ArcGIS to produce operational surveys and accounting of removals for tracking and reporting progress.
We also assist lake groups with developing management plans and permits, and conduct lake surveys to collect AIS and native plant data for planning, permitting, and reporting purposes. Please contact us if your organization is interested in such services.