Harvesting Program

Friends of Catherine and Channel Lakes Announces Approval and Implementation of Harvesting Program in 2020!

Friends of the Lakes,

We are thrilled to inform you that we have secured approval of our Incidental Take Assessment from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to implement a harvesting program in 2020. Find our press release here.

As you know, mechanical harvesting is a preferred method to chemical treatment because it eliminates plants quickly and removes them from the water, thus reducing phosphorus that results from decaying plants.

Because of strong stakeholder support, Friends of Catherine and Channel Lakes will fund the first round of harvesting in the spring of 2020 (June) as a pilot study. The summer 2020 cut (August), and all harvesting services in 2021 and beyond will need to be funded by the homeowners, businesses and associations around the lakes. The cost for harvesting services for the summer 2020 cut and beyond will be determined during the spring 2020 pilot program and shared with stakeholders in June or July 2020.

The conservation plan and permit can be found here (#199). The permit allows  for up to 70 acres to be harvested with each cut. It is our goal to harvest at least a strip outside of docks  and piers around the entirety of both lakes. Our permit requires that we focus on areas that are most densely covered by invasive plants.

This spring harvesting program will enable us to learn. Armed with the knowledge we gain from implementing this program – utilizing the funds we have already raised – we will learn how much it truly costs to harvest 70 acres, and, in turn, how much each homeowner, business and association should pay for this service going forward.

In the summer 2020 (August), 2021 and beyond, all homeowners, associations and businesses along the lakes will be able to sign up and pay for harvesting services to be performed along their shorelines twice per season. This should eliminate the need for and cost of chemical treatments.

While mechanical harvesting is not the silver bullet to return these lakes to pristine condition, it will go a long way in reducing algae blooms and improving navigability and aesthetics.

We appreciate your patience as we implement this important program. Thank you for your continued support.

For more information, contact us.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: When can we start harvesting?
A: The permit states that harvesting can take place in June and August.
   
Q: How much does it cost? 
A: Friends of Catherine and Channel Lakes will fund the first round of harvesting in the spring of 2020 as a pilot study. The summer 2020 cut, and all harvesting services in 2021 and beyond will need to be funded by the homeowners, businesses and associations around the lakes. The cost for harvesting services will be determined during the spring pilot program and shared with stakeholders in June or July 2020.
   
Q: What is being harvested? 
A: The goal of harvesting is to reduce the presence of invasive plant species Eurasian Water Milfoil and Coontail. We anticipate being able to harvest a strip of growth outside of piers and docks. The permit parameters state that harvesting may take place at a minimum of 3 feet in depth to a maximum of 12 feet in depth and up to 150 feet from the shoreline. The permit is limited to 70 acres per cut (spring and summer).
   
Q: How often will we be able to harvest? 
A: The permit allows for 70 acres to be cut in the spring (June) and a 70 acres to be cut in the summer (August).
   
Q: What can we expect for results?
A: Harvesting enables invasive plants to be cut and removed at one time. This provides a quick solution to improve navigability for boats, aesthetics in the lake and a reduction of decaying plants that cause algae blooms. Reducing invasive plants also allows native species to take root.
   
Q: Will harvesting harm the fish in any way? 
A: We anticipate minimum to no harm to fish. In fact, reducing invasive plants and increasing native species will provide a healthier environment for fish.
   
Q: Will there be any clean-up after harvesting? 
A: The harvesting vendor will remove all harvested material.
   
Q: Will I pay the same amount as my neighbor?   
A: We anticipate that payments will be based on the width of the lot and area being harvested. This is similar to the method the spraying companies have used for years.
   
Q: What will you do about the varying pier lengths to make it fair? 
A: Our goal will be to provide a similarly sized strip of harvesting for each stakeholder.