bowl (copy)

Stockbridge is planning to use a weed harvester to rid the Stockbridge Bowl of "nuisance vegetation," before the upcoming Josh Billings Runaground triathlon. Eurasian milfoil often chokes out large sections of the lake, as seen in the above file photo.

STOCKBRIDGE — With its smaller “blue” harvester still sidelined after it flipped over in Stockbridge Bowl on Aug. 26, the town is aiming for one final weed-whacking expedition by its second, larger “green” harvester, if possible.

The goal would be to cut at least some of the intrusive Eurasian milfoil clogging sections of the lake before the annual Josh Billings RunAground triathlon scheduled for Sept. 19. The triathlon includes a race by canoe and kayaks.

The larger boat would have to be towed to the lake from the town’s Highway Department garage, where it’s currently housed.

“We should absolutely put it in for the Josh, which is a source of pride for the town,” Selectman Patrick White said at a recent meeting. Leadership of the event has asked for a cutback of the “nuisance vegetation,” he noted. “It’s important for the safety, aesthetics and quality of the race that we get it on the lake.”

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State regulations require use of a GPS (Geographic Positioning System) tracking unit to guide harvesters on the state-owned lake. The town’s tracking device was on the capsized boat, but was “drying out,” said Select Board Chairwoman Roxanne McCaffrey. The cause of the Aug. 26 mishap remains under investigation. The operator, Chuck Kohrer, was uninjured.

Weed harvester hoisted (copy)

A weed harvester is hoisted back to shore last month after capsizing on Stockbridge Bowl. The town is planning to use an alternate harvester to rid the bowl of "nuisance vegetation" before the upcoming Josh Billings Runaground triathlon. 

A significant amount of weeds collected by the harvester was dumped back into the lake when it flipped over, McCaffrey acknowledged.

Former town employee Bruce Rubin, a lakeshore resident, described Stockbridge Bowl as “in terrible condition” because of the intrusive vegetation. Having operated the large “green” harvester in the past, Rubin volunteered to drive it if it is put back into service.

A final Select Board decision on whether to deploy the backup harvester, and the possible outcome of the investigation, is expected at Thursday’s scheduled 6:30 p.m. in-person meeting, also available via Zoom.