The most successful harvesting implement has proven to be a mechanical aquatic weed harvester, a barge-like machine designed to gather both floating mats and submerged aquatic weeds while propelling itself through the water. The harvester has a front-mounted submersible sickle bar cutter that cuts the submerged plants, following which is a conveyor that delivers the harvested product to an onboard storage bin. When the storage bin becomes filled, the harvester is driven to a shore-stationed conveyor that transfers the product to a dump truck. The truck then delivers the material to a designated upland composting area. The truck driver also operates the shore conveyor.
In recent years an Aquamarine H7-400 harvester owned by the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Sudbury has been generously loaned for harvesting the Hop Brook ponds. The Town of Sudbury Highway Department has provided hauling and mechanical services.
Of the four ponds in the Hop Brook system in Sudbury, Grist Mill Pond, Stearns Mill Pond and Carding Mill Pond have been mechanically harvested. The pond at the intersection of Dutton Road and French Road is privately owned.
Harvesting Water Chestnut on Carding Mill Pond
In 2016 the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge replaced the Aquamarine harvester with a smaller harvester that is is easier to transport and can access areas of the ponds with shallower water depth.