The Aquamog may sound like the moniker of a comic book swamp monster, but it’s actually a vehicle that arrived at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park in November to chomp away at invasive weeds.
The aquatic vehicle, a cross between a small paddleboat and a backhoe, dines on submerged and floating invasive plants like water primrose and parrot feather, according to the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department.
The two invasive plants have grown across North Lake at the park, the largest of the three natural waterways that make up the Chain of Lakes.
The lake, known for great birdwatching, has long attracted water birds that take shelter on its small islands, including egrets, great blue herons, belted kingfishers and many types of ducks.
Invasive vegetation, however, can choke waterways and eliminate major food sources and habitats of native animals, according to the park department.
Removing the invasive plants will improve the health of the lake and its shoreline and enhance viewpoints from the pathway.
Using the Aquamog to harvest the aquatic weed is more environmentally friendly than applying herbicides, and more efficient than removing it by manual labor. The goal is to eradicate 100 percent of invasive weeds.
The park department has previously used an Aquamog in Pine Lake and Metson Lake. DK Environmental, a Bay Area company that contracts with the city to restore native plant populations, owns the vehicle.
The Aquamog’s work will continue until the end of November. Two staging areas at the northern shore are closed during the project.
Once nestled in sand dunes that covered western San Francisco, the three waterways that make up the Chain of Lakes are among Golden Gate Park’s five natural lakes. The rest of the park’s lakes are artificial.
Story originally published by Bay City News.