The following was written by Ted Eastlund, who volunteers on the Barnes Area Invasive Species Suction (BAISS) Pontoon Boat. On Tuesday, June 23, 2020, the BAISS boat crew spent six hours on Upper Eau Claire Lake, collecting curly-leaf pondweed.
- Volunteer Ted Eastlund. Captain, Aft Crew, Water Intake Manager, Aquatic Plant Processor and Bagger, Deckhand.
- Alexis “Alex” Kabasa. Diver, Fore Crew, Aquatic Plant Collection Crew, Boat Navigator, Diver Safety Monitor, Diver Air Supply and Plant Intake manager.
- Cris Neff. Diver, Fore Crew, Aquatic Plant Collection Crew, Boat Navigator, Diver Safety Monitor, Diver Air Supply and Plant Intake manager.
Gus Gustafson: Crew Scheduler, Boat Checker, Boat Engineer and Maintenance Manager, Embarkation and Disembarkation Manager, Boat Unloader, Record Keeper.
We collected curly-leaf pondweed Tuesday June 23 10am-4pm shift. Beautiful weather. Went well except for half an hour when aft motor kept stopping after 30 seconds. Corrected when gas line valve was opened “ON” correctly. Crew lives life with COVID precautions taken. On board on the lake we mostly maintained social distance without face masks.
One minor incident occurred twice requiring urgent action each time: This year the lake bottom at the collection site has a lot of black decayed finely dispersed vegetable matter. Twice the screen table was flooded with black water that suddenly occluded the screen openings and water quickly overflowed. I urgently pressed the upside-down white plastic “colander” bowl (the diffuser bowl) hard against the screen and scraped the screen back and forth and water flowed through and the screen table gradually emptied, leaving a coat of black muck. We didn’t turn off the water intake pump motor. It kept flowing hard and fast, lending urgency to the need to apply mitigating steps. During the second occurrence both screen tables completely overflowed the black muddy water onto the pontoon deck and me.
The plants we collected included:
- Curly-leaf pondweed (CLP, crispus). Stiff, serrated edges. This was the most abundant specie. Plenty of turions.
- Northern water milfoil. Second most abundant, had 12-14 leaflet pairs per feathery leaf (not 12-18), not limp, stem not hollow.
- Had three leaves per whorl, therefore not invasive Hydrilla (4-8 leaves per whorl)
- Wild celery (few)
- Chara (rare)
- Bladderwort (rare)
Animals we found were:
- One crayfish
- Mystery Snail (one large, a few small)
- Few tiny clams
- One leech
Staffing and duration of collection are different from previous years. Now 6 hours, it was 4 hours per day last year.
Last year, the crew included one paid diver and two volunteer deck hands:
- One fore volunteer to monitor diver safety and communications, air supply and intake.
- One aft volunteer to process and bag collected plants, monitor the aft water intake motor, drive pontoon.
In 2020 there are two divers each taking turns, one underwater each hour, the other serves as fore crew to monitor air supply and diver safety and communications and net and collect floating plants.
The single aft volunteer now serves as pontoon boat captain, plant processor and bagger, and water intake motor monitor. Duties are:
- Identifies, processes and bags collected plants
- Monitors water intake pump motor. Keeps it running.
- Fuel line valve. Open by moving it far to the left (see arrow).
- Choke, to the left to choke and start motor, then move to right to keep carburetor open during operations.
- On/Off valve
- Keep gas tank with fuel
- Drives pontoon boat to collection sites and back to landing.
- Cleans after operation.