Case Study: Aquatic Plant Harvester Combats Phragmites


  • 20‐acre spring fed pond was originally a peat bog
  • Natural cold water spring produced over 300 gallons of water per minute
  • Illinois Department of Natural Resources transformed it into a fish hatchery
  • Operated as a fish hatcher from 1914 - 2004
  • At its height of operation, over 35 million fingerlings spawned at the facility 
  • Village took ownership of the property in 2007 and will be public open space

Spring Grove Fish Hatchery Pond after EH-220 removed aquatic vegetation.


Without maintenance after closing, aquatic plants took over the water

Majority of the pond is only 2 - 5 feet deep

Dense stands of phragmites spread along the shallow waters


Not specifically designed to tackle phragmites, a contractor with an Aquarius Systems EH-220 Aquatic Weed Harvester worked with the city to reclaim the Spring Grove Fish Hatchery.

The Aquatic Plant Harvester systematically worked through the dense stands of phragmites. Operating for 6 hours per day for 6 weeks, with offloading in some areas every 8 minutes, the 20-acre pond which had become overrun with phragmites and other aquatic invasive species is once again open.

EH-220 Aquatic Weed Harvester Phagmites

EH-220 Mechanical Weed Harvester is small enough for legal over-the-road travel.

Once dilapidated and overgrown, the ponds and surrounding landscape were restored with renovations that include a visitor's center with interpretive signage.

800 trout from a central Illinois hatchery were brought in and held in a one-acre pond, formerly used as a growing pen. These trout were later introduced to the larger pond and in 2021 the historic Spring Grove Fish Hatchery Park celebrated its first trout fishing season.