Cranbury to Clear Unwanted Vegetation Out of Brainerd Lake
The project will last for five days this week, finishing on Friday afternoon, according to officials.
With vegetation increasing throughout Brainerd Lake in Cranbury, a company has been called in to remove specific plants that could eventually deplete oxygen in the water, according to officials.
Princeton Hydro will be working on the lake beginning Monday for five days, removing lily pads and fanwort through a process called hydro-raking, which uses a claw-shaped machine to pull unwanted plants out by the root, said township committee member Susan Goetz. The vegetation will be put on a barge, removed at Village Park and sent on Public Works trucks to a local farm where it will be used as fertilizer.
“I think its necessary for the aesthetic, the recreational and the environmental quality of this lake, which is a key component to the village, and that’s really why we need to do it,” Goetz said. If left alone, the vegetation could become a larger problem, she said.
As there are more weeds, it hurts the native plants and creates a lack of biodiversity in the lake, Goetz said. Each year as the plants die, the depth of the lake decreases and oxygen in the water is depleted, which will eventually harm the fish, she said.
Lily pads started showing up about eight years ago, but no lake management has been done in about 35 years when the lake was dredged, Goetz said. Last year quotes for the project came in over budget, and this year they were able secure a contract within budget.
Goetz said the Township has allocated $10,000 for the project, and it is projected to cost about $8,200. Cranbury received three competitive bids and Princeton Hydro was the lowest bid.
The town is also working to secure a permit to apply an herbicide, although it would only be used if there's a specific problem section, and residents on the lake would be notified and there would be a public notice, she said.
In her professional career, Goetz serves as an environmental consultant Princeton Hydro is one of the companies she is familiar with.
“They are the best ones out there for this,” she said. “I’m really pleased that we’re able to work with them and I think people in this town will be really pleased.”