Last month, I contacted you about the recently produced maps that show that the spread of Eurasian milfoil has become a major problem in our lakes. Many of you wrote back offering to help and we received several generous contributions! Thank you to everyone who has reached out to support our efforts so far! We will need to work as a community if we want to restore the biodiversity of our lakes before it is too late. Any help is greatly appreciated. Please reply to this email if you can help.

Since my last email, our board of directors has decided to take action to remove Eurasian milfoil plants from our lake; we will be building a suction harvesting barge this spring and hope to be removing milfoil plants with the help of divers by June! According to our research and neighbouring lake associations this is the most effective means of controlling Eurasian milfoil as it involved completely removing the plants and their roots from the lake.

In order to construct the suction harvesting barge and to operate it for the 2022 season we have fixed a fundraising objective of $30k. Since last August when I first wrote to you about Eurasian Milfoil we have been able to raise $15k thanks to generous contributions from people around the lakes! We are already halfway there to achieving our objective! Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed so far. In the absence of government funding (which is the case) we will need to raise funds from lake association members and people who care about our beautiful lakes in order to ensure the success of this project which is critical to maintaining and restoring the biodiversity of our lakes.

The AlBeRo Invasive Plant Committee from left to right; Mike Baatz, Carol Robitaille and Alex Tyrrell, (Ed Jablonski absent)

Several lake association members have indicated that they would like to see our plan and proposals before making a contribution. I am happy to share with you our plans today and I think we have come up with the most cost-effective plan possible and that we will be able to greatly reduce the spread and propagation of Eurasian milfoil in our lakes with this plan.

Mike Baatz, who owns a home on Round Lake has kindly volunteered his time and expertise to build and oversee the construction of a suction harvesting barge. He has drawn up costed plans for a suction harvesting system that will be mounted to a wooden barge. At our last meeting, the board voted to accept Mike’s proposal and to give him the mandate to coordinate the project and build the barge! We have raised enough funds to get started but will need to raise additional funds to complete the project.

The key to successfully removing milfoil is to avoid fragmenting the plants. The plants spread through fragmentation so care must be taken to remove the roots while ensuring that pieces of the plants do not drift away, sprout new roots and become new plants. Our research and the experiences of neighbouring lake associations points to diver assisted suction harvesting as the most effective method of removing Eurasian milfoil. Essentially, divers trace the plants to their roots, pull them out and feed them into an underwater vacuum cleaner. The plants along with their roots are pumped to the surface, placed in containers and brought to the shore where they can be buried or composted under certain conditions.

The most effective use of the suction harvesting platform is to remove milfoil plants in zones where they are growing at low to moderate density. This will allow us to prevent low density zones from becoming high density zones. The high density zones provide more of a challenge and in terms of resources invested, intervening in the low-density zones will be a more effective starting point. We therefore propose to concentrate on low density zones for the first year. The priority will be high traffic areas like the creek that joins our two lakes and places where the topography of the lake bottom and the availability of nutrients places the zone at high risk of becoming a high density zone.

Video of a suction harvest

Diver-Assisted Suction Harvesting (DASH)

Eliminating the plants altogether will be not be possible but based on the experiences of other lake associations nearby, we are confident that we will be able to avoid a catastrophe in our lakes where milfoil would become the dominant plant, outcompete indigenous plants and even degrade fish habitat while making swimming impossible or unpleasant. Instead, removing plants from the lake (while ensuring fragments are not left behind) will prevent spread and hopefully reverse the trend; leading to less and less milfoil in the lakes each year, increased biodiversity and restored aquatic ecosystems.

Since so many people around the lakes have unique skills, objects, connections and contributions that could be of help to this operation milfoil removal 2022 and beyond, we have decided to share a wish list for both material, volunteer and financial contributions. Please reply to this email if you can help.

Financial support

  • Contributions (non-tax deductible) email transfers can be sent to our treasurer Huguette Messier at we would like to reach our goal of thirty thousand as quickly as possible
  • Sponsorships: if your business or one that you know are interested in contributing they may have their contribution recognized logo posted on the barge, on our website and in our email newsletter.

Material support wish list

  • 10-25hp outboard motor
  • Gas powered water pump (10-20hp), suction hoses etc
  • Scuba diving equipment (tanks, wetsuits etc)
  • Dock floaters, eco-certified pressure treated lumber
  • A large pontoon boat trailer to move the barge
  • Food to be served at a fundraiser, door prizes for fundraising event etc

Volunteer support wish list

  • Volunteers to dive in 3m or less of water in order to operate the suction harvester. The dives will be preformed using a hooka system (no certification required, safety courses provided) This is by far our most critical need in terms of volunteer work as we cannot harvest without divers.
  • Volunteers to operate the suction harvesting platform from the surface (no special skills required)
  • Volunteers to help with the offloading of plants and their transport to be composted
  • Volunteers to go door to door and-or make phone calls for membership renewal and to inform people about our milfoil removal efforts

Special support wish list

  • The use of a cottage or room in a cottage that people who come to the area to volunteer can stay. We are offering student internships where environmental science or studies students will assist with our efforts for 25 days out of the summer. We hope to be able to offer them a place to stay. If you have space and or enjoy hosting people, this type of special support would be highly appreciated.
  • With the support of community members like you we will be able to do great things for the health and biodiversity of our lakes before it is too late. We must act now to reverse the trend.

In solidarity for Beaven and Rond Lakes!

Please reply to this email if you can help 🙂

Alex Tyrrell

President of the Association for the Protection of Beaven and Round Lakes – AlBeRo


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