Benefits of Weed Harvesting

This year, SAAWA continues the summer weed harvesting project. Your donations will help the success of this project, which has a direct effect on St. Albans Bay. We believe there are several benefits of aquatic weed removal which make this a valuable grass-roots effort:

  • Each season the SAAWA harvester removes about 400 tons of wet weeds. About 10% of that is solid, organic matter which when composted has the nutrient equivalent of composted cow manure. We estimate about 500 lbs. of phosphorous is removed annually by reducing the weed mass in the Bay.
  • Weed removal improves water quality by improving water circulation and wave action. 
  • The incidence of algae blooms is greatly reduced and there is evidence that keeping weed growth in check causes weeds to be reduced over time. 
  • Reducing weeds in the bay, as well as maintaining the shoreline in the St. Albans Bay Town Park, helps reduce the unpleasant odor of rotting weeds on the shore, making the Park more usable for everyone.

2019 Weed Harvesting Schedule (approximate)
July 15-July 26: Ferrand Road & Bingham Shore
July 29-Aug 9: Black Bridge South
Aug 12-Aug 23: Fishing Access to Hathaway Point and Pines Area
Aug 26-Sept 6: Ferrand Road & Bingham Shore
Sept 9-Sept 13: Areas of greatest weed growth, as needed.

To coordinate shoreline cleanup when the harvesster is in your area, please contact Steve Cushing 782-5675.

New! Shoreline Clean-up Tools Available

We are experimenting this year with homeowner methods for clean-up near docks or the near shoreline. SAAWA now has an aquatic weed cutter and shoreline rake available for demonstration or loan to SAAWA members. If you would like to try it out on your property, please contact Kate Wolinsky at 527-7572.

Your donation will make a difference in your front yard...

Again this year, we are suggesting shoreline property owners contribute at least $50.00 toward the Annual Harvester Fund. Larger donations are greatly appreciated if it is possible, since they will allow us to expand operating hours. We will try to allocate more time to those areas contributing greater amounts to the Operating Fund. (Make sure you note your administrative area location with your contribution.)

Shoreline property owners are encouraged to work with the weed harvester when it is in your area. As weeds are cut, excess weeds sometimes wash up on shore. If a property owner is there to help rake them into the Harvester intake, your area will be left cleaner and the harvesting proceeds very efficiently.

We intend to operate the weed harvester 5 days a week from July 15 through August 30 and on four Saturdays during that period to help shoreline property owners clean up weeds which may wash up on shore. 

Click to make a secure online donation 
to the Weed Harvester Fund.

Questions or want to volunteer? 
Please call Steve Cushing at 524-2897 after 6pm. 


From the archives: 
SAAWA Purchases Weed Harvester
Aquatic weeds in St. Albans Bay contribute to poor water quality. They thrive on the high phosphorus levels which have built up over time and choke the natural cleaning abilities of the bay and adjoining wetlands. Removal of the weeds during the summer months allows for better water circulation and reduces further algae blooms.  Without removal, weeds decompose and add to the existing phosphorus load, creating an ideal environment for algae and bacteria. Finally, as anyone who visits the St. Albans Town Park in the summer can tell you, their presence creates a terrible odor and makes swimming unpleasant. The weeds foul engines, paddles, and fishing lines. They decrease the quality of life on the shoreline for everyone.

To try to reduce weed infestation problem, in 2005, 2006 and 2007, SAAWA contracted with a weed harvesting service for approximatly 4 weeks of weed removal. Conservatively, about 400 tons per year of weeds were removed from the lake and composted. Contract harvesting helped, but it was expensive and not always convenient. The annual cost of contracting the weed harvesting service was approximately $32,000.00 for four weeks of weed removal. Much of this cost was borne by lakeshore property owners and surrounding towns. There was also the additional problem of harvesting enough weeds in the limited amount of time available. 

In October 2008, the St. Albans Area Watershed Association purchased a weed harvester. Ownership of the weed harvester will increase the operating time during the summer and decrease the costs of operation. The weed harvester was found through Aquarius Systems, a broker, in Ghent, West Virginia. The machine was owned by Flat Top Lake Association and has seen light usage and is in good condition. The cost was $27,500.00. The purchase also included a 1990 trailer  equipped with conveyor which can be used to transport and off load the weeds. The machine and trailer were transported to St. Albans on November 27, 2008 and are now being stored at the St. Albans Town garage.

The purchase of the weed harvester was funded through a $7,834 grant from the Agency of Natural Resources, $5,000 from Clean and Clear, and a  $5,000 per year for five years contribution from the Town of St. Albans.  $17,300 was borrowed from the Peoples Trust Company of St. Albans as a bridge loan to be financed over four years and repaid through the $5,000 per year appropriation from the Town of St. Albans. 

The anticipated annual expense of operation and replacement cost is approximtely  $12,000. The majority of that amount will  be paid by shoreline property owners who contributed over  $8,000 in 2007.  We will operate the weed harvester through funding a paid operator postion with much support from volunteers. 
weed harvester at work

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weed harvester
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working to restore Saint Albans Bay
St. Albans Area Watershed Association | P.O. Box 1567, St. Albans VT 05478 | email: [email protected]
St. Albans Area Watershed Association | P.O. Box 1567, St. Albans VT 05478 | email: [email protected]
Areas of 
Weed Infestation

Please make note of 
your area location number
 in the comments section 
when making your donation.

Area 1
Hathaway Point Harbor north to the Walsh Camp

Area 2
Hathaway Point Road Fishing access south 
to the Bruley residence.

Area 3
Fuller Point to  
700s Hathaway Point Rd.

Area 4
700s Hathaway Point Rd 
north to Black Bridge.

Area 5
Bingham Shore (south of Town Garage) to Georgia Town Line.

Area 6
Farrand Road (Town Line) south to Kissane residence.

Area 7
The Pines, including an area north of Lazy Lady Island.

The Agency of Natural Resources has identified 
14 areas of weed infestation in St. Albans Bay. 

For organizational purposes, seven "administrative 
areas" are identified, which encompass these 14 areas.