The harvesters can only cut weeds down to a depth of 2m. This means that the weeds still grow on the lake bottom. As such, this program keeps weed growth in check during the season but does not prevent them from growing.
Last Updated: May 20, 2021
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Water temperature, depth, water quality and lake usage all play a part in weed quantity. The lake weeds multiply when they break up, float around, and then establish new colonies. A new plant can start from a tiny piece of an existing one. The most common form of weed in Chestermere Lake is the Northern Milfoil.
The City operates three aquatic weed harvesters and a barge. They operate from July 1 – Aug 31 each year. Depending on weed growth, harvesters may begin cutting earlier or cut later into September. The harvesters cut and remove lake weeds and other debris to ensure that Chestermere Lake remains safe for recreational and boating activities. Harvesting also reduces clogging of the WID irrigation system.
The harvester operators follow a set schedule based on the historical prevalence and location of weeds. Although they typically adhere to a regular “route”, picking up where they left off the day before, this route may vary depending on operator discretion. They also focus on floating weed masses and known areas with high weed populations.
The lake weeds are hauled by truck to the City’s Eco Centre. The weeds are deposited, screened of debris, turned regularly for several months, and mixed with other soil to create good compost material. This compost is available to residents free of charge and is also used in City parks.
Every summer, the lakefront owners help out by collecting floating weeds and hand harvesting weeds on and around their shoreline. This task involves putting the weeds into lake weed bins, to be picked up weekly by the City's Environmental Services team. This collaboration ensures that Chestermere Lake continues to be a key recreational amenity for everyone to enjoy.
On average, summer students spend about 2,040 hours in total on the harvesting program. This results in regularly removing over 200 trailer loads of lake weeds, ultimately being converted into compost material.
A breakdown of weed harvesting volumes from 2018 - 2020 is below:
Last Update: May 20, 2021