Aquadoc Articles

These articles contain important information about aquatic, vegitation, and waterway management cleaning. We hope you find these articles as helpful as we have.

WATER WEED REMOVAL: 

MECHANICAL HARVESTING VERSUS CHEMICAL HERBICIDES

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Mechanical harvesting versus chemical herbicides is the great debate when it comes to tackling water weed problems. When you’re faced with an infestation of any of the water weeds you can feel so overwhelmed and frustrated that you just want the problem to go away as quickly as possible. This causes many people to turn to chemical herbicides, thinking they are the quickest route to solving the problem. In this article, we’ll cover two important issues to carefully consider before making any decision about Mechanical harvesting versus chemical herbicides: The biomass factor and the safety factor. Please make an informed decision!

Part of the problem with chemical herbicides is that many people don’t think through the additional problems that can occur after using them. Case in point: Biomass issues.  An acre of water hyacinth can weigh as much as 200 tons! That’s a huge amount of biomass. Now, let’s say you spray a chemical herbicide on the plants and it kills them. They’re dead, but not gone. In other words, now you have hundreds of tons of dead plants in the water. The rapid decay of so much plant matter in the water causes a spike in nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous that make the body of water vulnerable to other kinds of plant invasions of both native (such as Starry Stonewort, Duckweed and Cattails) and non-native species (such as Water Chestnut).
Furthermore, all that decaying plant matter sucks up a lot of the available oxygen in the water, which can contribute to the die-off of fish and other aquatic animals. Chemical treatments don’t remove the biomass, thereby creating a viscous cycle of nutrient spikes and further water weed invasions. Mechanical harvesting, on the other hand, is all about actually removing the plants from the water, thereby getting rid of the biomass. If you don’t physically remove the biomass, your problems won’t go away and will probably get even worse.
The Safety Factor in the Mechanical Harvesting Versus Chemical Herbicides Debate

Then of course you have to ask yourself how safe it is to use any given chemical herbicide. Just because you’re legally allowed to use a chemical doesn’t mean you should. First of all, it probably won’t be you who actually does this work. You’ll probably have to hire a chemical contractor, and it will be expensive. How will you know what they’re really doing? How can you know if they’re using the right dosage or applying it correctly? With mechanical harvesting, it’s easy to see and monitor progress because the process is simple and effective. Many chemical herbicides are going to be toxic to fish and other aquatic life, representing further damage to the ecosystem by using the chemicals. When chemical herbicides are used, the water treated has to be put into a restricted-use mode. It cannot be used for drinking, watering animals, swimming, fish farming, or even irrigation until the water is safe again after treatment, which could be anywhere from 10 days to 90 days depending on what is used. And again, remember that you’re not removing the biomass, which will decay and cause elevated nutrient levels that result in yet more weeds!

Wintertime Water Ecosystems:

Spring into Action Now to Beat Water Weeds!

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On February 2 in the small town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, crowds of people waited for the weather prognosticating groundhog named Phil to emerge and make his annual prediction about how much more winter there would be this year. If the large rodent sees his shadow, then there will be six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow, then there will be an early spring. If you live significantly further north than Pennsylvania, Phil’s prediction is less relevant because on February 2 you know there’s almost always going to be more a lot more winter! But it does raise the question about wintertime water ecosystems. These water bodies do not shut down in the winter, and if you want to get ahead of water weed challenges, now is the time to be forming your plan of action.

How Invasive Water Weeds Survive in Wintertime Water Ecosystems

While wintertime water ecosystems look like they have shut down, water weeds are lurking below the surface.

Many of the worst invasive water weeds have been transplanted here from climates that are significantly warmer. It seems reasonable to think they should completely die off during a long, cold winter, right? Wrong! The wintertime water ecosystem, whether it’s a pond, lake or slow-moving river, essentially acts as a giant insulator, protecting the plants from freezing temperatures down towards the bottom. Many water weeds simply go dormant and bide their time until temperatures warm up enough that they can put growth into high gear– and you need to be ready for them.

One approach used by some is to deliberately draw down a water body enough that the plants are exposed to lower temperatures that kill them off. But this is a tricky strategy to pull off because it could have unanticipated negative consequences for wildlife that depend on the water body over the winter, not to mention whether or not the downstream watershed can handle the extra flow created by the drawdown. There are quite a few northern examples of using this strategy, such as the Foss Reservoir in Framingham, Massachusetts, which is intentionally lowered by as much as ten feet in the battle against Eurasian watermilfoil. But if you didn’t or couldn’t do a winter drawdown before winter, now is the time to start thinking about how you’re going to tackle water weeds when spring germination begins.

Foss Reservoir in Framingham MA, lowered by 10 feet (photo credit: Matthew Healey for the Boston Globe)

Tackling Water Weed Challenges with Weedoo Boats and Equipment

Don’t let the peaceful appearance of ice-covered wintertime water ecosystems fool you into being complacent about water weeds. They’re under there, just waiting patiently for spring to arrive. And when they get going, they can quickly get ahead of you and take over any pond, lake, river or reservoir. The good news is that Weedoo has an array of work boats and equipment that will give you the upper hand in the battle against water weeds.

Weedoo Compact Workboat

The Weedoo Compact Workboat has many great features that make it a real workhorse for tackling water weeds. The two weed-fighting aspects of this boat include the front-end loader universal marine bucket system and the deck-mounted marine boom cutter. The boom cutter is lowered down into the water and can cut weeds at a depth of five feet. The front-end bucket is then used to scoop up the plant material and deposit it on the shore for removal. The factory-installed PowerPack features fluid-cooled gas or diesel engine options with electric start. The cyclonic hydraulic system provides eco-friendly fluid to a high-efficiency triple-pump setup producing 27 GPM. This system includes twin propulsion outdrives with Weedoo Weed-N-Mud propellers and quick-change hydraulics for a variety of our aquatic work attachments. It also comes with a T-1305 highway transportation trailer.

Weedoo Aquaharvester

When you need to remove large volumes of water weeds, the Weedoo Aquaharvester is the boat you that will give you the upper hand in the battle against water weeds. The conveyor/harvesting system with detachable bag collection assembly allows you to get the weeds out of the water for further disposal, and the factory-installed Weedoo 24-Volt PowerPack includes a lithium/solar battery system that can run all day without using fossil fuel. Available in single or twin Torqeedo outdrives mounted on the Weedoo Power trim-n-tilt system, this one also comes with a T-1305 highway boat trailer.

In addition to these boats, Weedoo has both shoreline and onboard conveyors, the siltsucker dredge boat, and a number of helpful accessories. Wintertime water ecosystems may look like they’ve totally shut down, but they haven’t. They are still active, and your water weed challenges, though they may be dormant at the moment, are ready to spring into action. You can be ready for them with Weedoo work boats. Contact Aquadoc us today for more information!

Worst Water Weeds:

Eurasian Watermilfoil

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Commonly called Eurasian Watermilfoil or Spiked Watermilfoil, this invasive exotic water weed is becoming as widespread and as troublesome as Hydrilla. It’s on the list of 79 different invasive and exotic aquatic plants maintained by the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health. Although its feathery appearance is attractive, the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force, a joint effort of the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, calls it “a highly invasive and aggressive species.”

 

Scientific Name: Myriophyllum spicatum.

Origins: The first recorded instances of Eurasian Watermilfoil date back to the 1940s, but it’s likely to have been introduced to North America even earlier than that, as far back as the 1880s. Like Hydrilla, it was once a common plant to purchase for aquariums. It is native to Europe, Asia and North Africa.

Habitats: This submersed aquatic plant is rooted and its stems extend up to the water surface, typically reaching 3-10 feet in length but can grow as long as 30 feet. It can be found in lakes, reservoirs, ponds, ditches, streams, small rivers and even the brackish waters of estuaries and bays. Similar to Hydrilla, it can form dense tangles of stems underwater and thick mats at the surface and also can reproduce from its own small fragments, which is why it has been able to spread throughout the nation.

 

Eco-Impacts: Eurasian Watermilfoil can greatly alter the aquatic ecosystems where it takes root. The thick mats can prevent recreational uses (boating, fishing, swimming). It can interfere with irrigation and power generation by blocking water intakes. It can block needed oxygenation when the thick mats prevent the flow of oxygenated surface waters to deeper water. It also increases rates of sedimentation by keeping sediments trapped. Because it starts its spring growth earlier than native species, Eurasian Watermilfoil shades them out, decreasing aquatic plant diversity.

Correctly Identifying Eurasian Watermilfoil

One of the problems with Watermilfoil is that there are native non-invasive species you want to protect, the main one of which is Northern Watermilfoil. According to Brant Lake Milfoil Control,It can be distinguished by the number of leaf divisions; Eurasian milfoil has 9-21 pairs of leaflets per leaf, while Northern milfoil typically has 7-11 pairs of leaflets. Another technique for telling the two apart is that the feathery leaves of Eurasian milfoil collapse when removed from the water, while Northern Milfoil leaves remain firm. The photograph shows the difference (Northern Watermilfoil is on the left, Eurasian Watermilfoil is on the right).

Eurasian Watermilfoil Removal with Weedoo Environmental Work Boats

Chemical herbicides used on ponds, lakes, rivers or reservoirs to get rid of Eurasian Watermilfoil is rarely a good idea, which is why many infestations have been tackled by manual or mechanical removal. Doing it by hand takes a lot of volunteer labor and is incredibly time-consuming. If you’re facing a serious Eurasian Watermilfoil infestation, this is when you want to consider a Weedoo Work Boat such as our AquaHarvester.

Fiberglass/Kevlar® construction includes Weedoo 170-Conveyor/Harvesting System with detachable bag collection assembly and Weedoo T-1305 DOT-approved highway boat trailer. The factory-installed 24-Volt PowerPack includes a lithium/solar battery system that runs all day without burning fossil fuels and includes on-board marine charger and captain helm assembly. Available in single motor or twin Torqeedo outdrives mounted on Weedoo Power Trim-N-Tilt system.

Ready to tackle those wily water weeds without chemicals? Contact Aquadoc today!

Our Mechanical Harvesting Equipment Helps You to Clean:

Lakes

Ponds

Channels

Canals

Reserviors