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T&D > Programs Areas > Inventory & Monitoring > Aquatic Rake Program Areas
Rake for Aquatic Vegetation Sampling
Rey Farve, Project Leader


This proposal was submitted by Kathy Roche of the Medicine Bow - Routt National Forests. She requested the Inventory & Monitoring Program to develop a tool that could be used from the shoreline of a small pond to sample floating aquatic vegetation. The proposer was interested in a tool (i.e., a rake) that was easily portable (collapsible or sectioned and light-weight) and a tool that could collect a wide variety of aquatic vegetation.


The tool the proposer used to collect aquatic vegetation was a common plastic spaghetti fork attached by duct tape to a modified expandable painter's pole. This tool allowed the user to reasonably retrieve small-leaved floating aquatic vegetation from the shoreline.

The disadvantage of the tool was that it could not be effectively cleaned or sanitized to prevent cross-contamination of fungi between ponds. Also, the pole was only collapsible to 6 feet which made the tool cumbersome to carry in the field.

Research of potential designs

SDTDC investigated what (if any) tools were currently being used to sample aquatic vegetation for inventory or monitoring. A review of the literature indicated that a standard rake head (or a modified double headed rake) was the tool most commonly used. (See Deppe and Lathrope [1992] and Yin et al. [2000:2].) This was especially true for sampling submerged aquatic vegetation. (See Havens [2003:176]; Rodusky et al. [2005:90]; Kenow [2007:449].)

photo_1_double headed rake

photo 2 double headed rake

photo 3 double headed rake
Examples of double-headed rakes for
sampling submerged aquatic
vegetation samping.

The rake head designs presented is considered to be two possible extremes: 1) a standard double-headed rake head as is commonly used to sample aquatic vegetation, and 2) a rake head that is made from a common hair comb which can collect small leaved vegetation. These two designs are intended to demonstrate that the aquatic rake could accommodate the specific needs of any user. (Note: the proposer specifically requested a tool that could collect small-leaved aquatic vegetation.)

The proposer suggested that the pole be no longer than 15 feet. Longer poles tended to wobble uncontrollably. The pole described in this design can be modified to any length less than 30 feet.

Photo of the aquatic rake being field tested.
Aquatic rake being field tested.

For more photos, check out the Field Test.