Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

County Kicks Off Boating Season With Expanded Fleet to Keep Lakes, Beaches Clean This Summer

May 23, 2013
Casey Slaughter Becker, Office of the County Executive 608.267.8823 or cell, 608.843.8858
County Executive

Lake Weed Harvesters, Beach Clean Up Barges, Ready to Patrol Area Lakes; Stations to Prevent Spread of Invasives Open at County Boat Launches


Dane County is ready for the unofficial start of summer with an expanded fleet already hitting area lakes to help keep weeds clear and beaches clean in time for the kick off of boating season, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today.


At an event at picturesque Olin Park on the Lake Monona shoreline, Parisi showcased one of ten weed harvesters that will patrol area lakes this year, and one two additional beach barges that will provide clean spaces for swimmers.


 “A summer in Dane County isn’t complete without some lazy days spent swimming, fishing, or boating on our lakes and waterways,” said Parisi.  “This weekend, when many people are ready to hit the water for the first time this year, we’ll be ready with expanded resources to help keep lakes and shorelines cleaner.”


Weed harvesters travel on the county’s lakes, cutting and removing pounds of invasive aquatic plants, like Eurasian milfoil, to keep waterways clear and navigable for boating, fishing, and swimming.  Less invasive plant growth also means increased water flow through the Yahara system during  periods of high water and flooding, and a healthier ecosystem for fish and other aquatic wildlife.


The county added a new beach barge to collect  trash and debris on area beaches to keep it out of the water, and keep the sand clear for swimmers and sunbathers.  In partnership with the City of Madison, city riparian property owners can place accumulated vegetation at the end of their pier for pick up.  The floating barges will dock at the shoreline to pick up and safely dispose of trash collected by county parks staff, city life guards, and volunteers.


The county is also expanding it’s campaign to curb the spread of invasive species throughout our chain of lakes by offering additional Invasive Species Removal Stations at area boat launches.  Once an invasive such as the spiny water flea or rusty crawfish has taken over an ecosystem, they can disrupt native fisheries,  degrade water quality, and gobble up food sources for native organisms.


The stations are located  on Lakes Waubesa, Kegonsa, and Mendota at Lake Farm, Goodland, Babcock, Fish Camp County Parks, Lake Kegonsa State Park and Governor Nelson State Park. 

These stations offer long-handled brushes for boaters to dislodge invasive aquatic plants and organisms.  The stations also provide bins to safely dispose of the invasives, preventing them from cluttering boat landings or going back into lakes.


The county hopes to partner with other groups, including the State Department of Natural Resources, in the near future to expand its pilot project stations on additional boat landings throughout the county.


Funding for the stations was made possible through a portion of a $200,000 grant from the DNR to aid in the county’s implementation of a comprehensive invasives species management plan for area lakes.

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