Weed Harvesting Event on Sep 8, 2011

Submitted by Jim Graybill

Harvester Machine

Picture 1 of 2

The harvester was delivered to the lake on the morning of September 7. It was determined that it could not be launched at the existing boat ramp, so a temporary ramp was built by the drainage district at a vacant lot on the dam. The harvester was moved to the Columbia Slough for its trial there while the ramp was being built. This delayed the start of the weed harvesting by a day and a half.

The harvester was launched around noon on the 8th and drew considerable interest from the cities of Fairview, and Portland, the Oregonian newspaper, and others. A track around the lake had been identified by white poles for the operator of the harvester. After the harvester had been launched, the operator basically decided that he couldn’t do a track as the weeds on the edges of the track would just collapse back into the track and we’d never see it. Also, he worried that too much of his time would be idle while he waited for the barges to unload the weeds. He argued that the machine could better show off its capabilities by cutting a rectangle along the face of the dam which could be observed from the vacant lot on the dam. He was to start a couple hundred feet from the dam and work his way in. The harvester was set to cut at a depth of 4 feet. When he was finished on Friday he had cut a path about 500’ by 150’ and skimmed the surface of some loose plants.
On Friday we argued that we needed some kind of track cut for comparison. The operator reluctantly agreed to cut one up and one back for about 1000’. We ask that the track be cut at 2’ deep for a comparison of the growth of the weeds and to make the track longer in the time we had available.
The rectangle and the track have been marked with poles. We encourage anyone to take a look at it. The poles will be removed just before the water is drawn down around October 10 – 15.

The drainage district hauled away 10 truck loads or 120 cubic yards of weeds. The harvester operated for about seven hour’s total.

We will be trying to assess if the weeds do collapse back into the track and how many tracks we’d have to run to avoid this, how fast the weeds grow back and if this is an economically viable option for managing the weeds.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.