Aquatic Vegetation Management Program
We have concluded 2023 operations. Thank you to all lakeshore rakers, our many partners, and the crew. Wishing all a beautiful fall season on Honeoye Lake!
Program Overview and Goals
Honeoye Lake is a shallow, eutrophic (nutrient rich) lake an average depth of 16 feet. It supports abundant plant growth that may impede boating and other lake uses during the summer. Ontario County works with the Towns of Richmond and Canadice to deliver the Honeoye Lake Aquatic Vegetation Management Program (AVMP). A mechanical harvester is used to cut and remove the top three to seven feet of vegetation around the perimeter of the lake where access is most impaired. This program is now in its fourth decade.
The goals of the program are to:
1. Open up lake access for recreational uses by cutting aquatic plants and removing
them from the lake environment for composting.
2. Remove nutrients in plants from the lake environment.
3. Aid circulation of water in areas choked by aquatic plants.
A shoreline management program is also carried out to assist residents in the removal of plant debris washing on shore. See the current letter to Honeoye Lake shoreline landowners for more information on the program and how to participate.
2023 Program Information
Tentative Schedule : July 5 - August 31
Be sure to review the 2023 Letter for details. Program updates will be posted here throughout the season.
Vegetation maps have been used for several years to guide strategic harvesting on Honeoye Lake. Maps are created from data collected around the perimeter of the lake using a specialized sonar system. Sonar data is sent to C-MAP, a subsidiary of Navico, and vegetation maps are created showing the relative abundance of plants in the water column. No sonar data is collected in the middle of the lake as harvesting does not occur there. Volunteers collect the sonar data, typically twice per season. C-MAP creates the maps free of charge for municipal account holders. Besides guiding management, the maps are an educational tool.
Interpreting the Maps: Red and orange depict areas of dense vegetation growth at or near the surface of the lake, while yellow and green indicate less plant growth in the water column. Blue indicates very little to no plant growth in the water column.
The maps show how aquatic plant growth varies from year to year, and also within a single season. As displayed below, the early July 2022 maps indicates relatively little plant growth in the lake, compared to June 2019. Comparing June to August 2019, plant abundance increased dramatically.
Lakes are dynamic, and factors that influence the extent to which aquatic plants will negatively impact recreation and navigation include availability of nutrients (from lake sediments and storms that transport nutrients from the watershed to the lake), availability of sunlight reaching the bottom, lake level and temperature.
Vegetation mapping, in addition to requests from residents and field observations, help guide harvesting operations with the primary goal of improving lake access for recreational users and navigation.
Resources and Links
Honeoye Lake has been the subject of studies and watershed management programs for many years. The Aquatic Vegetation Management Program operates as one component of a more comprehensive Honeoye Lake management approach to improving water quality and maintaining watershed health.
Honeoye Lake Watershed Task Force (HLWTF)
The HLWTF maintains a web portal which is the best “one-stop-shop” location for community members to find current information about Honeoye Lake and management efforts. Several recent documents pertaining to action plans and assessments of Honeoye Lake are available for download under the Resources tab, including DEC’s HABs Action Plan for Honeoye Lake and more.
Aquatic Vegetation Management
An assessment of aquatic vegetation management options for Honeoye Lake (2008).
Guide to New York State Lake and Watershed Management: Diet for a Small Lake, 2nd edition
A comprehensive resource guide on a range of topics for lake managers and residents alike.
Harmful Algal Blooms
Shallow nutrient-rich lakes typically exhibit multiple lake management challenges. Excessive seasonal plant growth is one, algal blooms are another. While algae are a natural component of the lake, an overabundance of certain forms can lead to a Harmful Algae Bloom, or HAB. For more information on HABs in NYS, see DEC’s website:
And for a perspective on locations reporting HABs, see DEC's HABs notification page:
Additional Organizations of Interest to Honeoye Lake Residents
- Lake Associations are comprised of people sharing common interest in a lake. The Honeoye Valley Association is the registered, not-for-profit lake association for Honeoye Lake. This membership-based volunteer organization works in a variety of ways to protect and preserve the environmental quality of the Honeoye Lake watershed.
- A not-for-profit coalition of lake associations, individuals and corporate members dedicated to the protection and restoration of New York Lakes.