INDIAN LAKE WATERSHED PROJECT SELECTS CONTRACTOR FOR ADDITIONAL WEED HARVESTING ON INDIAN LAKE
The Indian Lake Watershed Project Board of Directors (ILWP) held their monthly meeting on Wednesday, May 18 at the Indian Lake State Park. The meeting was widely attended in person and online by viewers through Zoom and Facebook live. In attendance were representatives from Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) to discuss the aquatic weed conditions on Indian Lake. Local elected officials attending the meeting included State Representative Jon Cross, County Commissioner Joe Antram, and County Commissioner-Elect Mike Yoder.
The Indian Lake Watershed Project announced receipt of a grant from Honda of America for weed harvesting in the amount of $50,000 which will be utilized in addition to the $250,000 approved through the State Legislature this past spring. During the meeting, the ILWP Board of Directors approved the proposal from Shoreline Construction & Excavating Ltd. to operate a large open-water harvester. The proposal required the contractor to clear a minimum of 225 acres each week and a minimum of 600 cubic yards each week. This open water harvester is expected to be operational within the next couple of weeks. This open water harvester will be in addition to the three harvesters that are currently being operated by ODNR.
“The current situation at Indian Lake is serous and many solutions are being researched. Weed harvesting is the short-term immediate option available but the long-term solution has to include a multimillion dollar plan for privatized dredging on the lake.” added ILWP President-Elect Dustin Wickersham.
ODNR announced plans to hire an additional 6 operators for the three weed harvesters currently operating on the lake. This will provide a second crew of operators to run harvesters for an extended amount of time each week. If you are interested in applying, please contact the Indian Lake State Park Office. For weekly updates on vegetation removal and dredging, visit the Indian Lake State Park website and look for the tab ‘Indian Lake Aquatic Vegetation Management’.
In addition to hiring more operators, ODNR announced the selection of a firm to complete a study of the weeds on Indian Lake to determine best practices for the future. ODNR selected Certified Lake Manager, Edward Kwietniewski, an Aquatic Biologist from Aqua Doc, Inc.. Mr. Kwietniewski has a B.S. in Aquatics and Fisheries Science from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry and a M.S. in Lake Management from the State University of New York College at Oneonta. He will be studying the aquatic weeds and providing options for mitigation for the future. Mr. Kwietniewski attended the meeting and answered many questions from the public concerning the aquatic weeds on Indian Lake.
ILWP President Tom Langhals shared at the meeting “We are working with ODNR, members of the State Legislature, and private entities to find solutions. While the current status is not what we want, we are dedicated to finding a long-term solution.”
To learn more about the ILWP, you can visit indianlakewatershedproject.com. The Board of Directors meet on the third Wednesday of the month. Membership dues are $15 annually and can be submitted through the watershed website.
INDIAN LAKE AQUATIC VEGETATION
VIDEO BY KEVIN CAMPBELL PHOTOGRAPHY
The Indian Lake Watershed Board wants to assure residents and the community that there are many concerned parties involved in this plan. We understand the seriousness of this situation and are doing all we can to get the funding allocated for our cause.
If you would like to get involved, we can use your help in several ways. The most important step is to become a member of the Indian Lake Watershed Project. Dues are just $15 and membership will help give financial support for the mission of the Indian Lake Watershed Project. By becoming a member you will receive important updates about the weed harvesting project and support.
The next way to help is to contact your member of the Ohio Legislature to support funding to harvest aquatic weeds on Indian Lake. Currently, there is legislation sponsored by Representative Jon Cross to provide the funding.
The Indian Lake Watershed Project (ILWP) Board of Directors voted to purchase an EcoHarvester to help combat the growing weeds in Indian Lake.
“This purchase is a step toward improving recreational conditions and controlling the abundant weed growth,” said Frank Giannola, ILWP Board President.
The $93,000.00 weed harvester will pull the weeds out by the roots instead of cutting them, reducing weed growth. The EcoHarvester will also be able to skim floating algae and weeds off the surface.
The harvester was delivered to the waters of Indian lake in the fall of 2021 and an in-water demonstration was completed.
Proceeds from the 2021 Nashville Hitmakers show went toward the purchase of the equipment. The ILWP is also accepting donations.
If you wish to donate or for more details, contact Watershed Coordinator Abbi Hastings at (937) 404-3148.