A machine purchased for Black Hawk Lake "mows" weeds out of the - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

A machine purchased for Black Hawk Lake "mows" weeds out of the lake


When you think of cutting grass the first that that comes to mind is a lawn mower.

But in Lake View, Iowa the mower looks a lot different, and the lawn is filled with water.

"It's just like mowing your grass," Douglas Dublinske, harvest operator, said.

Except workers at Black Hawk Lake in Lake View, IA are mowing the grass under water.

This machine, called an Aquatic Vegetation Lake Harvester, was purchased for $250,000 by the Iowa DNR to help clean up what's become a problem.

"The DNR is focused on water clarity and in order to achieve that, in 2012 the DNR killed all of the lake fish in order to get rid of the carp which are a mud generating fish.  And when those fish died, that left the clear water, and the plant growth has just exploded," John Westergaard, Lake View Mayor, said.

But too much plant growth can be a problem, especially for boats and jet skis.

"Once we get rid of the grass, it will quit plugging up the inlets on the boats.The grass is really harmful on the motors," Westergaard said.

But the Aquatic harvester is taking care of that.  The machine "mows" about three acres a day.  That's ten hours of mowing moving at four miles an hour.

"This is going to be a long, long process until we can get a dredger in here to deepen the water," Westergaard said.

"This Aquatic Vegetation Lake Harvester will be here for as long as the grass continues to grow," Westergaard said.

But officials don't expect to mow the entire lake.

"Part of the south part of the lake will be left with grass for fish growth, breeding, and habitat. So we are trying to accommodate the boaters and the fisherman," Westergaard said.

"We have a GPS on the machine that tells them where they have already cut and where they need to go.  The DNR is putting zones together where we are going to go each day," Westergaard said.

The 15-to-20 tons of vegetation that is "mowed" out of the Black Hawk Lake is re-used.

"We deposit it at a farm for the farmer to use out on his fields," Dublinske, said.

A good thing for farmers, and for boaters, who will be able to get out on Black Hawk Lake without worrying about overgrown vegetation.

Crews started harvesting a little over a week ago.

In just the first week they took 100 tons of weeds out of the lake.

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