Case Study: Aquatic Weed Harvester Makes Recreation and Navigation Possible


  • 2500-acre flowage created by a dam across the Fox River
  • Mostly a muck bottom with portions as sand
  • 13.1 miles long with 32.2 miles of shoreline
  • Watershed area is 600 square miles
  • Permanent and seasonal homes with much of the lakeshore footage wooded and undeveloped

Cutting paths in Buffalo Lake open it up for recreation and navigation.


  • Eutrophic lake that suffers from excessive aquatic plant growth
  • Wide variety of aquatic plants dominated by invasive milfoil and curly pondweed
  • Maximum depth is only 8’ with an average depth of 4.5’
  • Wisconsin DNR plan only allows for creating cutting paths


Operating a fleet of Aquatic Weed Harvesters, in addition to a Transport Barge, Offloading Conveyors and dump trucks, the protection and rehabilitation district can cut and remove aquatic plants from the shallow waters. Following an aquatic plant management plan, the district can remove vegetation to create paths for recreation and navigation as they are only able to harvest 284 acres.

Due to the sheer size of the waterbody, the Aquatic Transport Barge is key in increasing the efficiency of the harvesting program. Even with multiple offloading locations around the waterbody, the Transport Barge allows the Harvesters to continue harvesting vegetation as it travels to shore to unload the cut plants.

Mechanical Weed Harvester in Wisconsin

Weed Harvesters and Transport Barge

In 2022, the fleet of equipment removed 1,621 loads of aquatic vegetation. The nutrient rich vegetation was taken to local homes and farms to be used as fertilizer. The phosphorus contained in the harvested vegetation has the potential to produce 607 tons of algae.