The Dane County Land & Water Resources Department manages an aquatic plant harvesting program for county waters. Harvesting follows permit requirements from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) and approved Aquatic Plant Management Plans for each waterbody. All harvesting of aquatic vegetation occurs in WDNR approved locations.
Adhering to WDNR requirements, the county's policy is to cut and harvest Eurasian water milfoil and other invasives to help provide for reasonable recreational use of the lakes for boating, fishing and swimming, and lake level management, while preserving the health and balance of the lake ecosystem. Also, aquatic plant cutting in the Yahara River is performed for flood mitigation. Harvested plants are hauled by truck to remote compost sites.
The county hires seasonal, limited-term employees to perform the harvesting. The supervised crews harvest aquatic plants from mid-May until mid-August using 12 mechanical harvesters and other harvesting equipment.