The City of Bourges, France has just bought from the U.S. a new weed harvester boat: high performance, it is supposed to harvest aquatic plants which invade Lake Auron and which block rowers and wind surfers.
The enemy of the boater in the Lake Auron water plain is the comb-shaped pond weed. The excellent health of this aquatic plant has led the city for a long time to equip itself with a weed harvester so that rowing shells and sailboards don’t get struck in this invading salad. Recently the City took possession of the latest model of weed harvester from UMI, the “WeedCat™”. This boat, built near New York, is much more efficient than the older one, which has been retired.
This is the first WeedCat™ sold in France like the ones in the USA. This boat will be confined to the Lake Auron valley area as the other harvester, smaller and built by the same company, will continue to operate in the bogs and rivers of Bourges as it has since 1991.
“It is a machine which will never break down,” explained Gilbert Camuzat, the First Deputy Mayor of Bourges (he was accompanied by his Deputies Pierre Ferdonat and Bernard Gourdon). “The first harvester made in the U.S. astonished us with its maneuvering capability. It could garner 9 cubic meters of plant material, and it was charged with cleaning the bogs. The new model bought by the city (for 900,000 francs) has a capacity of 11 cubic meters.”
Ellicott, an industry leader in the construction of dredges, made its catamaran hulls. Two of its members were at Bourges and explained how it works to the captain of the city fleet, Daniel Rimbault.
“We sell these boats all over the Southern U.S. where they know about big problems with the proliferation of aquatic weeds in their recreational lakes and rivers,” said Ellicott’s representative.
The WeedCat™ is also capable of gathering floating debris. In several minutes it picked up plenty of dead tree branches near Auron. Even big pieces of wood are picked up.
“Last year,” said Gilbert Camuzat “the weed harvester cleaned up about 800 cubic meters of aquatic plants in the Auron Valley. We will do much better with this one: it is equipped with a turbine motor which allows it to cross the length of the lake in 10 minutes which took the older one 35 minutes. Therefore we will have more time to discharge the contents on the lake shore. When it is harvesting this unit moves itself thanks to paddle wheels.”
The WeedCat™ should fulfill its promises, since in 1995 there will be an international rowing competition on the lake, and there is no question that the comb-shaped pond weeds will annoy the athletes.