The following is an on-going project that a group of volunteers started several years ago on a lake in the Adirondack state park. Lake Luzerne is fighting Eurasian Milfoil, a weed that has taken over many lakes all over the country. This group of volunteers is called The Lake Luzerne Aquatic Conservation Taskforce.

Below are progress reports from Bob Sherman of A.C.T.

Friday June 29th 2007, Bob Sherman to LBB
Re: Lake Blanket use in Adirondack State Park

Our town, Lake Luzerne, NY, is in the Adirondack State Park, which is controlled by the Adirondack Park Agency. We have a permit to use benthic barriers of a type different from Lake Blankets. Without going into detail, the type specified is impractical for our (volunteer) use. I have already purchased two Lake Blankets, but intend to use them only within the context of our permit. Accordingly, I will be contacting the APA shortly to try to have Lake Blankets appended to it. To help me with this could you provide the following information:
1) Do you know of any APA approval of Lake Blankets, any APA permits including same, or any authorized use of same in the Adirondack State Park?
2) Could you furnish the technical specs of Lake Blankets such as thickness, type of vinyl, etc., of course excluding any proprietary material?

A meeting of the Lake Luzerne Association will be held on July 7. I would like a supply – perhaps 50 – of your brochures for this meeting. Please send to Robert Sherman 89 Pierpont Rd., P.O. Box 15, Lake Luzerne, NY 12846.
Is a volume discount available at certain quantities?
A prompt reply will be greatly appreciated.
Thanks much.

Bob S

Monday July 16th 2007, Bob Sherman
RE: Lake Blanket use in Adirondack State Park

Hi Warren –
The APA has approved the Lake Blanket. It can only be used with a permit, however. Our permit (and probably any others) requires inspection of the proposed site by a knowledgeable authority, lake manager, scientist, etc., before mats are laid down. We are working on getting such a person (i.e., Larry Eichler, from Darrin Fresh Water Institute on Lake George) now.

Progress is slow, but steady.

August 2, 2007, Bob Sherman
Re: Lake Blanket use in Adirondack State Park

Hi Warren –
We deployed the mat over a very dense bed yesterday – used no concrete blocks, in about 10′ of water, from rowboats. Took all of 15 minutes in a moderate breeze. Once we have done a few more we’ll be much more adept at it.

How much for 20 mats, next Spring? We’ll have financing in place for a professional group (Lycott Environmental) to install them. We want the town to spend $25-30M a year to buy mats, put them down, move and remove, etc.
Best regards,

Bob S

August 25, 2007 Bob Sherman
Re: Lake Blanket use in Adirondack State Park

Hi Warren –
About a month ago we placed my 3 blankets in 8 feet of water over a very heavy milfoil bed. Only weight was the 3/8″ rebar. This covered 1,200 sq feet. 1 hour effort for two people.

Also placed 40, 10×10 dryer felt mats, lined on each with 1/2″ rebar, and a concrete block on top for added weight. Total 4000 sq.feet. 1 day effort for 7 people.

Ed Snizek from the APA came down to watch us pull them. The Lake Blankets killed the milfoil just as well as the heavy mats, at a tiny fraction of the work required by the 10×10 mats. Snizek was very impressed and will be recommending your product wherever appropriate, i.e. where not likely to be disturbed by 200HP outboards, danforth anchors, and the like.

We will be ordering 20 or 30 lake blankets for 2008, and same for 2009. After that orders will be for maintenance of about 50 to be placed each year, and moved 3 times. Mats will be put down professionally, probably by Lycott Environmental, who also serves Lake George. Suggest you contact them, they must use benthic barriers for much of their work in MA.

Best regards,

Bob Sherman

September 29th 2007 , from Bob Sherman to multiple people involved
RE: Lake Luzerne Update

Hi All ––
Mike and I picked up, moved, and put down 3 lake blankets in about 2 hours. That is 1200 sq. ft., or 12 of the old style mats. It would have taken two scuba divers and three or four support personnel and the Van Snooty (Bill’s barge) the better part of a day to do the same thing.

I went over the areas where the mats had been, and they seem adequately dead. There is more re-growth of milfoil in the area off the motels than I expected. Warren and Rich –– are you sure that 30 days does the job using mats/blankets? Would 45 days be better?

Today Rich King did the Tier III survey, and we should have the report in a few weeks. He bagged some milfoil for me and sure enough, there is at least one little creature the size of a sesame seed, color light brown, with a long nose. Before I could isolate it, it went back into the milfoil, but I’ll see if I can catch one later.

Marty, Mike Schaffer will be calling you to introduce himself and grub some more middfoil cuddlies.

Warren we have used 2 of our blankets three times, and the other one twice. No sign of any wear, tears, etc.

The rebar seem to stay in place fine with the cable ties. The rebar in the very front of two of the blankets bent somewhat when we pulled a line we had attached to the blanket handle. Do you see any problems using ½” rebar for the first and last pieces?

We’ll be working on grants very shortly.
Bob S

January 31, 2008, Bob Sherman to Lake Bottom Blanket
Re: Lake Luzerne

Hi Warren ––
We are really on the same page in almost everything.

We have 160 10’’ sections of ½ “rebar from last year’s home-made “blanket” experience. For some reason, 3/8” rebar is now hard to get. We will probably use 3 or 4 – ½”, and 5 or 6 – 3/8” each, based on availability and cost.

We have had 3 mats underwater all winter –– easier than to pull them out in the Spring than in October. We can’t use buoys in the sacred Adirondack State Park. Nothing un-natural must ever show above the waterline, even for a month! The ice will be gone about 4/15. We expect to put mats down around 6/1, using professional scuba divers.

Expensive, but reliable, month after month. We plan to reposition 28 mats 3 times –– total of four “shots” for a coverage of about one acre. In 2009, with 25 more mats, we should do 2 acres. By 2011, we may be in a “control mode” using fewer mats, more hand harvesting, and a substantially lower annual cost. Attached is a picture taken from our house last fall, and an inaccurate hydrographic map. As you can imagine, we usually can’t tie off the blankets to the shore and row them out. Much better with scuba or deep snorkel –– many depths will go to 12 feet. We use white side up –– great P/R, and great visibility.

We have a float boat about 24’ long ( The (Van Snooty”) which is used for the operation. The APA (Adirondack Park Agency) has watched our operation and are impressed. As we get further into this I think we will find that Lake Blankets are a very cost effective means of establishing control, and demonstration of efficacy, and that a biological control such as E. Lecontei may provide a long term solution. Neither one will be totally effective without the other.

WOULD LOVE TO SEE YOU to kibitz about the project.

Best regards,
Bob S

Wednesday June 4th 2008 : Bob Sherman update to everyone.
Re: Lake Blanket Deployment in Lake Luzerne

It’s a good time to summarize our work with the “Lake Bottom Blankets (mats)” so far this year.

We had purchased and deployed 3 mats (1,200 sf.) last year and left them in the water all winter. Each mat is 10’ by 40’.

We purchased 25 more (10,000 sf.) a few weeks ago. A group of 6 or 8 volunteers assembled them in about 4 hours. This assembly consisted of inserting rebar, tie-ing off ends, etc.

We hired a limnologist-diver, Richard King, who supervises, supplies other divers as needed, check for rare plants, etc. We deployed the 25 new mats, and relocated the 3 others yesterday, in one day.

One of the members of our Aquatic Conservation Taskforce (ACT), Bill Campbell, has a 10’x20’ powered raft which we used as a work barge. We piled the 25 new mats on it, positioned the barge, and passed each mat to King and two of his guys in the water. They did not need scuba, and just used snorkel.

We started at 8:00, got organized, loaded the barge, went out on the lake, deployed all mats in about 4 hours!!! We went to lunch.

I don’t understand it, but we had no floating milfoil fragments after deployment. Last year, with the different mats and scuba deployment we had hundreds of pounds of fragments.

Part of this may be seasonality, but a lot of it is that the lake blankets sink slowly to the bottom while the divers are on top, guiding them down, instead of being in the middle of the milfoil bed, wrestling a heavy mat around.

Over lunch we discussed how to pull up the “old” mats to re deploy them. King took over. He had us position the barge over and perpendicular to the mat, and, from the water, passed one end of the mat to his 2 guys who were on the barge. They muscled it up, which coincidentally worked very well with the positioning of the rebar tubes –– that’s unclear, I know, but Warren will know what I mean. Within maybe 30 minutes we had all three aboard the barge and repositioned them in about the same time.

There appeared to be no effect on the mats of being in the water so long.

King and crew are off hand picking last year’s matted areas as I write this.

The simplicity of the entire operation was extraordinary compared to last year. We matted a total of 11,200 sf. in less than a day. I think in the future we should expect to average a total of about 20 minutes per mat removing from the water, and relocating. This is with time for organization, breaks, air, etc. We need a barge, a “Captain”, two “younger-than-me” people on the barge, plus Rich and crew. We may or may not need people in boats picking up fragments. We in ACT should meet quickly to plan for July’s redeployment and how to man this on a permanent basis.

I do think we should construct a barge dedicated to Lake use, for matting process, tree removal, etc. It will get very old very fast for Bill if we keep using his.

Your input will be of great interest –– please “Reply to all.”
Bob S

Saturday July 12th 2008 Bob Sherman to all
Re: Lake Luzerne, Lake Blankets (Mats)

Yesterday, Friday 7/11/08, was the day to move our mats. One snorkeler in the water, and 4 people on our work barge (Pontoon boat) removed all 28 mats (11,200) onto the barge by noon. Technique was that snorkeler clipped a heavy braided line to the nearest mat handle, and people on the barge then pulled the line until the first rebar came aboard, and then proceeded to fold the mat on the barge, rebar section by rebar section. Then on to the next mat. All mats were in fine shape.

We broke for lunch, and then replaced all 28 back in the water by about 3:00. Technique was to lower a mat handle to two snorkelers in the water, and then pay out the mat rebar-section by rebar-section.

Throughout the redeployment very few fragments were created. We had three boats in the water for that purpose, and they had little to do. Effort on the barge was not strenuous. We have matted ½½ acre so far in 2008, and half way through our the years matting target. Two scuba divers are in the water today hand-picking areas previously matted, and then up along the west shore to get at some light beds.

The bed we are matting this year is very large and dense. It might total 3 acres. Part if it intrudes into a beach area. We are working from the beach and launching ramp outwards, and the results are little short of spectacular. The area previously matted is totally clean of milfoil, but will nevertheless be hand-picked next week to try to get any rhizomes that are around. The beach area is once more clean sand.

Ed Snizek, I hope you can come down to see the progress we are making. While these “Lake Blankets” might not be suitable for a large lake with large motor boats, they are very cost effective for a lake like ours.

Rolf Tiedemann should see them also; they may have application to Eagle Lake.

Ed, if you have any other small lakes in our situation we would be glad to show them what we are doing, and help them along with their projects.
Bob Sherman

Lake Luzerne Project | Lake Bottom Blanket Luzerne 1

Shown are several Lake Bottom Blankets laid in a large Eurasian Milfoil infestation White Side up.

Lake Luzerne Project | Lake Bottom Blanket Luzerne 2

Shown is the beach area where you can just make out the blankets that are installed in the water with their white side up.

Lake Luzerne Project | Lake Bottom Blanket Luzerne 3

Shown here installing a Blanket are the volunteers of A.C.T. using their barge for deployment.

Saturday August 16, 2008 : Bob Sherman to All

RE: Lake Luzerne ( 3rd Repositioning)

Weather was gray and drizzly. We didn’t get an early start because King had to take to scuba people to South End for hand picking. Warren Grosjean and his son were up from NJ to observe. I was to be gopher- coffee, lunch, etc. With one snorkeler in the water, and 4 people on the barge to maneuver mats, all 25 were up by 10:30!!!! Weeks and Magliere had the mats more neatly stowed than last time, and that made it go faster.

Everyone came in for a break, and I spent (Gene note) $12.00 for coffee and donuts.

Both Grosjean’s boated around photographing and observing. The problem with the loose rebar was evident. When we assembled the mats I had not stressed how important it was that the rebar cable ties be secure. We are still paying for that. Also, next time we’ll get rebar 9’9” instead of 10.’

When deployment started, about 11:00, it was evident that activity would go very fast as well.

Grosjean suggested fastening the mats together in 80’ or even 120’ lengths –– King will assess if he thinks this would be useful.

About half the mats were back in by 12:00 when we broke for lunch. ACT blew still another $65. Grosjean gave us a free mat in exchange for the lines and floats we didn’t use. Much good discussion regarding weevils, mats, hand-picking, herbicides, long-term techniques.

We volunteers finished about 2:00, and King and divers went off to straighten mats, move a few from the swim area, etc. Then hand-picking areas previously matted.

In my opinion it was an extraordinary day and effort by all. We will be assembling 25 more mats in early September. Then in Mid-September these will be put these down, and we will move the others for the fourth time. All will stay in the water until Spring.

We will have matted over 50,000 sf in the 2008 season. In 2009 we will mat more than 2 acres!

Saturday Sept 13 2008: Bob Sherman to All
Weeks, Mandle, Campbell, Albert, Patricia Goldberg, and Mayhew, with me watching, assembled 27 mats in less than 2 hours, including delivering them to Bill’s house. That’s 10,800sf. I was astonished how fast this went!!! Thanks all.

In 2009 the crew at A.C.T. of Lake Luzerne continued to use Lake Bottom Blankets to cover and kill large areas of Eurasian Milfoil.

LBB Note: This weed control project will continue for as long as the volunteers of A.C.T. keep trying to preserve their lake and keep it from being over-run with exotic weeds. We commend them on their diligence and thank them for keeping us updated on their progress.