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Milfoil 2009

Sandy Kraker, Association President

Since 2004, the Sylvia Lake community has made active efforts to stem the spread of Eurasian Milfoil around the shoreline areas of our lake. One strategy we have used is called "hand harvesting." As evidenced from the history (above) many people have participated in this effort over the years.

A new strategy for battling invasive water weeds is a benthic barrier. A Benthic Barrier is a mat installed on the bottom of a lake or pond to stop the growth of rooted aquatic plants. These mats work best in a small area, such as along Sylvia Lake's shallower shelf along the shore. The Association received DEC approval for the placement of the mats for the 2009 season.

Barriers are made of material that blocks sunlight and are held on the bottom by weights. There must be a way to let gases escape, so the barrier should not be air-tight. This barrier technique is not suitable for controlling wide spread infestations, but as a trial, a group of Sylvia Lakers, assisted by divers, have placed three mats at locations around the lake.

UPDATE: A few weeks later, the mats were turned and revealed dust and debris - no milfoil - underneath. The mats were repositioned and will be removed before Fall. Thank you to all who are helping with this project. Below, photos of divers Mark Scott, Chris Scott and Sandy Kraker, President of the Association. (Gale Ferguson, photographer)

sandy markchris
July 5, 2009 – Sandy Kraker, Association President, writes: "One mat was laid in the area in front of the Old Hotel, near Conklin’s. The photos on that day indicated the flat light we worked in above and under the water as Jon Lockwood and Sandy Kraker dived while Gale Ferguson, Coby Kraker, Matt Kraker and Jesse Kraker worked on the surface. This was the first day we wrestled with the 12.5 X 20.5 ft. mats and we learned a great deal about how they should and should not have been laid on the milfoil patch."
hotel hotel
deploying mats

July 12, 2009 - We laid three more mats – one in the southern part of the lake, near the Inlet Bay, another at the Old Hotel site and a third in front of the Public Beach. You can see by the photos, we had better light and also utilized buoys on each corner to float them in to place. Gale maneuvered his pontoon boat again, Jim Kraker cheered us on and Sandy was diving...with help from George Dodds (his boat), Laura Moellering, Jane Dodds, Julie Dodds, & Ralph Undercoffler. Tom and Suzie Parks were helping in another boat with Suzie taking pictures.

More lessons were learned as the buoys worked great, however they were very difficult to maneuver in the rough waters in front of the Old Beach. In fact, we totally missed the patch due to the current from the winds and had to re-tie and re-float in to place.


The mats will remain in place about 4 weeks at which time divers will flip onto an adjacent patch not initially covered. There should be nothing “but dust” remaining of the previously covered milfoil... according to the folks we purchased the mats from.

Thanks to all who helped, especially Gale Ferguson who sacrificed his pontoon boat (piled with weeds that floated to the surface) for the good of the lake.

As a reminder, please manage the weeds in front of your cottage and remember that WEEDER WINDERS are available to use…ask the website or call Sandy Kraker at 289-8098 to borrow a winder.