The CLA utilizes a diversified inventory of equipment in order to meet the lake maintenance needs of Chautauqua Lake.  No other lake association is known to have such a significant equipment inventory.  CLA personnel operate the equipment during the summer and then fully service the vessels during the winter months.  All equipment is maintained in “as new” condition which minimizes downtime during the intensive summer season.

Aquatic Plant Harvesters

The CLA owns and maintains eight Aquatic Plant Harvesters. Our harvesters range in size from a seven foot wide cut to an eleven foot wide cut. They are capable of harvesting to a depth of five feet. This makes the surface water usable for human activities while leaving the subsurface natural for aquatic life.  Harvested material is collected and conveyed onto the machines as they move through the water. These harvesters have a storage capability ranging from four to eight hundred cubic feet in size.

Harvesters are a self-sustained system capable of cutting, loading and transporting aquatic plants. An aquatic plant harvester cuts the vegetation, collects and stores the debris on board. They are fitted with one or more conveyors that move the harvested materials throughout the machine. Aquatic Plant Harvesters offer an environmentally sound method of controlling excessive aquatic plant growth and nuisance vegetation in waterways of all sizes. When the storage hold becomes full, the harvester usually unloads onto a transport barge but can also unload onto a landside truck conveyor.

Two of our smaller harvesters have been converted to near shore skimmers. They assist with the removal of floating vegetation and typically work with our near shore crews. 

The replacement cost for the eight harvesters is estimated to total $1,140,000.

Transport Barges

A barge is a flat-bottomed boat, built mainly for the transport of heavy goods. Due to the limited number of access sites along Chautauqua Lake the CLA purchased transport barges to increase efficiency. These machines allow the harvesters to work and unload onto the transport barges instead of having to travel to shore to unload. The transports have the capability of traveling three times faster to the unloading sites along the shore than do the harvesters. The CLA currently owns three of these transport barges.

The CLA estimates that the transport barges increase the efficiency of a harvesting program by up to 90%. Transports optimize the material handling process. Harvested loads are offloaded from the harvester onto the transport barge, allowing the harvester to immediately resume work while the transport hauls the vegetation to shore.  At a distance these machines are similar in appearance to the harvesters and therefore are often mistakenly perceived to be harvesters.  This becomes problematic for public perception regarding harvesting efficiency when a transport is sitting idle awaiting receipt of a load from the harvesters or when it is perceived that a harvester is “losing harvesting time” by going to and from unloading locations.

The replacement cost for the three transport barges is estimated to total $480,000. 

Near Shore Work Barges & Skimmers

Work barges and skimmers are used on Chautauqua Lake to maintain the 42 miles of shoreline. Crews gathering floating and near shore vegetation and debris. Traditionally they follow behind the harvesters in the same circular route around the lake. Additionally, they are used for all types of storm clean-up. This unique technique that the CLA utilizes ensures minimum loss of aquatic vegetation, reduces plant repopulation and beautifies the shores. Loads are transported to shoreline conveyors and then disposed of at environmentally safe locations via dump trucks.

The replacement cost for the five work barges is estimated to total $131,250


The CLA’s Hydro-Mate is a multi-use, heavy duty machine with a forward mounted hydraulic crane. This is used for storm clean up and for the removal of heavy debris, such as fallen trees. It can also be used for small dredging projects.

The replacement cost for the Hydro-Mate Barge is estimated to total $190,000.

See how the CLA puts this equipment to use throughout the season.


The CLA owns four large dump trucks which are used on a daily basis to haul the harvested material from the shorelines of Chautauqua Lake to various dump sites. The CLA also owns four smaller dump trucks which are used as part of the Near Shore Crews collecting roadside piles and enhancing the shoreline operation.

The replacement cost of the vehicular fleet is estimated to total $593,700.

Shore Conveyors

The CLA has four shore conveyors. These mobile units are positioned at the various unloading sites along the waters’ edge and allow the harvesters, transports and barges to unload the harvested vegetation and debris. The material is offloaded onto the conveyor which elevates the load up and into a waiting dump truck for disposal.

The replacement cost for the four mobile conveyors is estimated to total $112,000

Yard Trailers

The CLA owns two yard trailers, which are used for the launching and removal of the equipment from the lake.

The replacement cost for the yard trailers is estimated to total $70,000.

CLA Loader

Dresser Loader

A loader is a heavy equipment machine that has a front-mounted square wide bucket connected to the end of two booms (arms) to scoop up loose material from the ground. A loader is often used to load material or move a stockpiled material from ground level and deposit it into an awaiting dump truck. The CLA has also uses the loader to launch its fleet of equipment each season, to move equipment around the shop and storage yard for maintenance and to remove equipment from the water each fall.

The replacement cost for the loader is estimated to total $106,000.

CLA Fork Lift


A forklift is a powered industrial truck used to lift and transport materials. The forklift has become an indispensable piece of equipment in warehousing operations.

The replacement cost for the forklift is estimated to total $83,774.

Bobcat Loader

Bobcat Loaders are relatively compact and versatile pieces of machinery, used to scoop soil, rubble and other materials. When a loader’s bucket contains material, it can be lifted and deposited into a truck or moved to another location. This piece of equipment is used on heavily infested shorelines to remove excessive amounts of nuisance vegetation.

Estimated replacement cost of the Bobcat loader and trailer:  $70,500

Gator Utility Vehicle

The John Deere Gator is a small all-terrain utility vehicle with a box bed, similar to a pickup truck. The CLA uses this machine with its shoreline crews to pick up and haul away vegetation piled by area residents.

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