WILLIAMS BAY — Divers pursuing the starry stonewort invasive plant species have removed piles of the unwanted greenery this week by pulling it from the bottom of Geneva Lake.
The Geneva Lake Environmental Agency organized efforts Wednesday and today involving divers who will use their hands to uproot starry stonewort in areas where the invasive plant has become infested.
Ted Peters, director of the Williams-based agency, said crews on the first day removed about 25 bags of starry stonewort, enough to fill up a trailer that hauled the plant material away.
The operation was continuing today.
Divers were focused on areas near the Trinke Lagoon in the town of Linn and near Big Foot State Park in Lake Geneva — both locations where dense populations of starry stonewort have been identified.
The seaweed-like algae, which was first found in Geneva Lake in 2018, can grow into large and bushy masses that can disrupt a lake's boating, fishing and other recreational activities.
Officials initially planned to dredge the lake bottom, but the starry stonewort was found to have spread before the dredging took place.
Environmental experts say there is known method of eradicating starry stonewort.
The diving exercise involved two divers on Wednesday and three today, each ripping up plant life and carrying it to the surface where volunteer kayakers hauled it to shore or to a nearby barge for disposal.
Although large piles were removed, Peters said, the hand-pulling will likely become a yearly activity to ensure that tarry stonewort does not spread throughout the lake.
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