FORT ANN  Milfoil harvesting is scheduled to begin next week on Hadlock Pond, and the manager of the project said this year’s work is critical.

“If we don’t do it better this year, we won’t be doing it next year,” Joseph Loszynski of the Lake Hadlock Management Project told town officials last week. “Last year, there was a lot of milfoil floating around on the lake when it was finished.”

Both the Adirondack Park Agency and state Department of Environmental Conservation had issues with last year’s harvesting and set higher standards for this year.

This year, the agencies mandated all operators of the harvester, including town workers, being certified and trained to operate it.

This year’s plan is to have the large, lawnmower-like milfoil harvester make its passes through the lake followed by two pontoon boats with paid workers on the bows, collecting any milfoil that escapes the harvester. There will also be volunteers in kayaks behind the pontoon boats.

“This is a major effort for us, because of the need for volunteers,” Loszynski said.

Officials are also talking about establishing a site at the north end of the lake to launch the harvester so it does not have to travel all the way from its southern entrance point. He said he estimates the harvester can do 30 percent more work if that happens.

“That would allow us to get a lot more harvesting done,” Loszynski said.

No hand-harvesting

Originally, the lake association planned on hand-harvesting with divers as well, but Loszynski said the group rejected the one response because it seemed the contractor did not have the experience.

“All the bigger firms are working Lake George or one of the other lakes in the Adirondacks,” he said. “That makes it harder on the smaller lakes.”

Loszynski said the group would like to have its own divers doing hand-harvesting, but noted they would have to be trained, making it impossible to do it this year.

Loszynski said the Lake Hadlock Association has been receiving help from the Cossayuna Lake Improvement Association of Argyle in figuring out how to approach the milfoil.

Cossayuna does not have to deal with the APA, but still needs DEC approval and, like Hadlock, has to raise its own funding for its milfoil-fighting efforts.

Last year, the Cossayuna group brought a herbicide contractor in, and a post-treatment inspection shows the work had been mostly successful. A second evaluation in the fall showed some return of the milfoil, but in general was very positive, according to a report on the group’s website.

Cossayuna Lake was treated again in May.

Other concerns

Fort Ann Supervisor Darlene Dumas said she is concerned that nutrients, possibly leaking from septic systems, could be spurring the growth of milfoil and other plants in the lake.

“Regarding septic systems, you’re getting into a whole new ballgame and something I am not familiar with,” Loszynski said.

Dumas pointed out the towns around Lake George are very strict about septic systems.

Loszynski said he thinks this attempt to clean up the lake comes at a good time.

“We have a lot of transition,” he said. “We have a lot of new owners coming in.”

If there are violations of APA rules, Loszynski said he and the others involved in the project will report them to the APA or DEC.

“It’s counterproductive to look the other way,” he said, noting the APA plans at least three unscheduled inspection visits during the work.

You can read Bill Toscano’s blog at poststar.com/app/blogs or his updates on Twitter, @billtoscano_ps.

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