Lagoon dredging postponed in battle with invasive species

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Starry stonewort, an invasive plant species, can grow into thick bushes that can disrupt recreational activities on a lake. (Contributed photo/Regional News)

Posted April 22, 2019

WILLIAMS BAY — Plans to dredge a Geneva Lake lagoon to try removing an invasive plant species are being shelved for several months because of higher-than-expected costs.

The project was expected to cost about $160,000, but a solicitation drew only one contractor proposal, and the contractor wanted $850,000.

The Geneva Lake Environmental Agency has postponed the dredging effort until fall, when officials hope to find lower costs.

Officials had planned to dredge the lagoon this spring in hopes of removing starry stonewort, an unwanted plant-like algae that could spread throughout the lake and disrupt recreational activities.

As interim measures, officials now hope to combat the starry stonewort with chemicals, and to discourage boaters from using the lagoon, which is located near the Trinke Estates neighborhood in the town of Linn.

The unexpectedly high costs came just as the Geneva Lake Environmental Agency had succeeded in finding a place where the dredged material could be stored this spring while it drained dry.

Ted Peters, director of the Williams Bay-based agency, said he was disappointed to see the $850,000 bid from Integrated Lakes Management Inc. of Waukegan, Illinois. Peters said he hopes to seek new contractor proposals soon, with an eye toward dredging the lagoon in the fall.

“We worked so hard to be where we’re at, and I don’t want to lose it,” he said.

Peters reported the setback Thursday to his agency's board of directors.