Friday, August 6, 2010

(2) July/ Aug 2010 -- Clearing the bottom dam of hyacinth!

Saturday 24th September 2010

We went back to the bottom dam to remove  the hyacinth that was lurking in the reeds. The water level had dropped and where there was water, was now mud; so the men cleared the area by raking the plants out.

More hyacinth trying to hide in the reeds.

there were about 40 water birds swimming


  To see how we did it scroll down!!

Shirley Tebbutt and Elizabeth Gettliffe are the dynamic duo who have organised the clean-up efforts at Delta Park Dams -- Pierre.

Putting pen to paper, Shirley tells us about her venture

"For a long time I had wanted to clear the Florence Bloom Bird Sanctury dam commonly known as the bottom dam but it was being used for research to find a way to eradicate or control the hyacinth.
In July 2010 Geoff Lockwood who runs the Environment Center told me the experiment had unfortunately failed and asked me if I would clear the dam. For me an exciting prospect though many people couldn’t understand why I would want to work very hard in cold and smelly water pulling weed.
We had no money but started anyhow -- and again the Delta walkers have donated both money and food.
This time the weed was different. It had been hit by black frost so the top was dead but the plant wasn't . The bulbs had already turned green and were sprouting, so we were working against the weather clock. As it warmed up, so the weed started sprouting and as it was different from when we did the top dam so too were our methods.
We used shade cloth as a net which was attached to two ropes. The boatman went out and ensnared an “island" of weed, which was pulled in.

The men then used forks and threw the weed onto pieces of plastic which were run up onto the bank.This was after three days -- It didn't look as though we had done anything, because the remaining weed just spread out .
At last we could see clear water!
On the fifth day the wind had blown all the hyacinth against the wall. We had to come up with new method. We attached 2 litre water- filled bottles to one rope which was fed along the bottom of the wall just under the weed. The second rope was fed across the water by canoe to the landing place. 

We towed this island in and secured it, then used forks to hoist it out of the water
This island had been snared from across the dam where it filled the little "bay" below the bird hide.

Our cheerful and hard working team enjoying lunch
The heaps of black, smelly weed grew daily



DELTA WALKERS DO IT AGAIN - the full story

It was so nice to see the article about the Florence Bloom Bird Sanctuary Dam. Geoff Lockwood and his staff did their three hours for Mandela Day removing hyacinth from the dam in freezing cold weather. Later we also used their basket method for removing the bits close to the edge.
I was delighted when Geoff contacted me to say the research to find a solution to either eradicate or control the weed was over, though sadly unsuccessful and asked if I could clear the dam of the invasive weed. For me it was an exciting prospect though many people couldn’t understand why I would want to work very hard in cold and smelly water pulling out weed.
Back in 2006 we had cleared the top dam of hyacinth and were looking forward to seeing this bottom dam clear as well. This time the weed was different. It was hit by black frost so the top was dead but the plant wasn’t. Already the bulbs were turning green and sprouting so we were working against the weather clock. As it warms up so the weed grows faster and as it is different this time, so were our methods.
My equally enthusiastic friend Elizabeth Getliffe and I set about getting basic equipment and a team of ten unemployed men.
Our method was a bit Heath Robinson but it worked. We used shade cloth as a net which was attached to two ropes. The boatman went out, ensnared an “island” of weed which was pulled in. Then the men used forks to throw the weed onto sheets of plastic and we all took turns running them up onto the grass. Hard work! The heaps of black hyacinth will dry out and in a few months will be mowed with the grass and act as a good compost.
As with the top dam we had no money but started anyhow, and the Delta walkers donated both money and food for the workers.
I even got onto 702 being interviewed with Jenny Crwys-Williams and while on the show we some wonderful donated a canoe, life jackets and the use of front end loaders for a future project – thank you Jenny!
Now come and enjoy our beautiful park; take a walk to the dam below the Conservation Centre, so you can admire the shimmering water which didn't take long to attract the water birds back. It is now possible to enjoy the birds on the open water, which now open to the air is far less smelly.
It will be maintained, first by manual clearing as it sprouts and then with spray along the reed line to keep it weed-free.
I am a committee member of Blairgowrie Community Association (BCA) and am happy with Delta Park as my portfolio.
Many thanks to all the people who donated money, food and drink for the workers and also came to encourage us. Without all of you we couldn’t have achieved this.
Yes, it was hard but most rewarding work!

Shirley Tebbutt

(1) Nov /Dec 2006. - Clearing the top dam of hyacinth

In November and December 2006 a project got under way to clean up the top dam at Delta Park.  As is common with many waterways in the area, the dams in Delta Park had become almost completely covered with water hyacinth.

The bottom dam was being used for research so the top dam was chosen for the clean-up.
It took six weeks and a lot of effort - many of you will remember those six weeks well, as you were involved in providing food and wages for the workers.

The end result was well worth it - a beautiful expanse of water for all to enjoy, including more wildlife now able to enjoy the freedom of the open water. Some people didn't think it was possible to keep the dam clear, but four years later it's still beautiful and weed-free!

Shirley Tebbutt shares her first hand experience from the time:

Four years ago in November and December 2006, a group of us decided we were really upset at seeing  the top dam totally covered by  hyacinth weed, which was so dense we could walk on it in places, and spontaneously decided to clear it.
A friend, John Barrow, had a front end loader and loaned it to us for a weekend. With it, we managed to pull great “mouthfuls” of weed out onto the bank. It took a while and many experimental methods on the first day before we got it right. A bit of  “Heath Robinson“  but it worked!
Two guys went out in the canoe and laid a rope around an “island” of weed, and then the men on the bank slowly pulled it in. Once close to the edge, large pieces of plastic were laid on the ground and the men grabbed handfuls of the weed and threw it onto the plastics. As they filled up, two more men grabbed the corners and ran it up the bank. We estimated that we had about 2 tons of weed on the bank in the end. Over the next three months it rotted away into compost.
When we started, we had no money to pay the 20 unemployed labourers so we “begged “ money from the walkers and they all gave generously. Others brought food, fruit and cooldrinks for them and we always had enough money to pay the workers at the end of every day.
It took six weekends and in the end we did three consecutive days as well.
The result was a weed-free dam which is still clear to this day. It's an ongoing project: w
e regularly pull out any sprouting baby plants and today the dam looks as good as it did then."