Floating bogs removed from Big Lake

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 8/21/96.

With a thought to preserve their lake, members of the Big Lake Aquatic Association start the planning process in the spring to remove floating bogs. "We usually plan this project for every other year, but it all depends on how many bogs break loose each year," Dave Mutschelknaus, association president, said.

In 1993, about 200 dump truck loads of floating bogs were hauled to an area farm. There the bogs are allowed to dry out and they are then plowed under. Floating bogs are clumps of reeds which break loose from the lake shores during ice outs in the spring and high winds and wave action in the summer.

"Last year we hauled out 175 truck loads," Mutschelknaus said. "We had to wait for a rainfall as many of the bogs were stuck in shallow water and wouldn't budge." He explained once the bogs break loose from the lake edge, they float around wrecking spawning areas for fish, docks and boats.

Planning for the project starts in the spring as they need to cut through a lot of government red-tape before a bog can be removed from the lake.

Once a date is set, lake homeowners take the day as a vacation day from work to help. They roundup the bogs with their boats and push them to the public access on the south shore of the lake. "Last year we had 18 boats working together pushing a large bog across the lake," Mutschelknaus said. "It was quite a sight. It took us three days to remove all the floating bogs."

Removing the bogs from the lake is usually a two-day project. The night before the removal, the members of the aquatic association scout the lake, looking for loose bogs. They are then rounded up and pushed to the lake access by boat or pontoon. "Volunteers have to be careful with their boats as pushing bogs can put a boat's motor at risk with the low water in places," Mutschelknaus said.

The next morning, the bogs are pushed to the shore again, where a big backhoe is positioned to lift the bogs out of the lake, dump them unto dump trucks, and haul them away. This year, Gary Terres, St, Martin, removed the bogs from the lake. "We were lucky this year as the wind was in the right direction and helped push the bogs to the lake access," he added. At one count there were 10 boats pushing bogs this year. About 55 truck loads of bogs were hauled from the lake.

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