We are looking to remove the clumps of floating weed over the next few days and good to have a few volunteers to help on Sunday and Tuesday. Ray Kemish will be at club from 11:00hrs on Sunday for an hour or so of clearing and Andrew Goodman and I will be down at 18:30hr on Tuesday to finish the work.
This is the second year we have had weed although many clubs have had the problem for years and RYA have useful advice on their website for dealing with it. We looked in to options in detail last year and based on advice decided to see if 2017 was a one off as no easy soltion for us. The cold winter meant the weed started later this year and there is less around the pontoons but more random floating clumps. This may be due to benign weather and will see whether high wind this weekend clears things as at moment the murky water is helping reduce growth.
There are three options for weed control; dye the water, harrowing and cutting. First two are not normally allowed on a SSSI and dyeing is out anyhow as not a closed water. Harrowing in early spring is best method as removes weeds as they start to grow. Cannot normally do this on a SSSI but there are exceptions. So this may only leave cutting. A top of the range cutter with appropriate boat can cost £40,000 and last year and this the committee has obtained prices from local clubs to hire their equipment and operators. These were between one and two times our annual surplus for one cut so quite expensive. As with cutting grass, RYA suggest would need to be done several times a year although does depend upon water but with our shallow water more likely. On postive side clubs suggest after several years of cutting the weed is eradicated. A useful RYA article on weed control can be downloaded here.
Worth noting that North Lincs highlighted in the RYA document bought a second hand cutting boat in 2013 for £8,400 as for some reason stopped harrowing. Personally I think a second hand robust cutter is best long term solution for the club.
For this season we will clear surface weed and hope as last year it dies down in September. We will discuss with the Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency and Natural England whether we can harrow as well as cutting, as nothing can be done without their approval.
As we have quite a few engineers in our membership thoughts on making our own cutting and harrowing equipment would be useful or suggestions of more modest cutters that we can use from our safety boats. For large scale cutting our safety boats are not suitable and you need a larger boat. Cutting also means a lot of weed has to be disposed of well away from the foreshore else more nutrients enter the water and help weed grow faster.
Aim is to come up with a number of options within the next two months after which it may be appropriate to have a club meeting to decide best option.
In meantime any thoughts welcome and please email me