The Orono City Council, at its meeting on Sept. 24, voted to request that the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District (LMCD) discontinue its Eurasian milfoil harvesting program on Lake Minnetonka.
The council expressed frustration with the harvesting program during a presentation by LMCD Executive Director Vickie Schleuning at its meeting on Aug. 13, citing resident and business owners’ complaints over an increase in weeds on the shoreline and the potential for spreading AIS via the harvesters.
Schleuning explained that the LMCD uses different types of management methods and approaches to combat AIS, including herbicide/chemical treatment, hand-removing weeds and mechanical harvesting. She said that in 2015, the LMCD removed 1,000 tons of AIS using three mechanical harvesters, one high-speed transporter, one conveyor and contract trucking. In 2017, the LMCD removed more than 637 tons of AIS from the lake.
“Unfortunately, in 2017 we probably had the most vegetation of all types out there; last year, we just couldn’t even keep up with all the needs in general,” she said.
The cut weeds are stored on the harvester or transferred to a transport barge or shore conveyor, then composted.