CLA begins shoreline demonstration project

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The Chautauqua Lake Association recently launched its new Automated Near-Shoreline Maintenance Machine which will be a major component in the organization’s planned shoreline maintenance demonstration project and floating vegetation collection program. The machine is a new, non-chemical tool to be used in Chautauqua Lake cleanup efforts.

Last fall the lake association staff converted a decommissioned harvester into a mechanized barge that efficiently and safely receives, stores, and transfers accumulated floating vegetation. Intense boating activity over the recent Memorial Day Weekend resulted in large amounts of floating vegetation being cut and loosened to float on the lake’s surface which then accumulate along the lake shoreline. The machine is both collecting the floating vegetation and receiving materials that are manually raked to it.

“Previously, raked materials had to be manually loaded and then unloaded onto and from our barges,” said Doug Conroe, executive director for the CLA. “This will help make our work much more efficient.”

The Automated Near-Shore Maintenance Machine concept was approved last summer by the CLA Board of Directors as a result of its exploration of ways to improve collection efficiency. The machine will be dispatched to areas of greatest need and will work alongside other traditional maintenance crews. It is currently operating in Burtis Bay.

“We are excited that this pilot demonstration program will enable us to service more territory than we have been able to service in the past. We already have a design in place for a new, customized machine that will be more versatile in maneuverability and can access confined areas,” said Conroe. “We will be ready to move forward with the new design if this demonstration project produces the success that we are already observing.”