Tucked up in the Gold Coast Hinterland, where there are some of the best small acreage cattle producing and cropping areas in Qld, I found the worst Weed affected large-scale dam I have ever seen.
With seasonally secure rainfalls, excellent volcanic soils and an all-round temperature suited to growing babies, I came in contact with a landowner who had some major weed inundation issues which had extremely detrimental effects on his grazing and cropping programmes.
A quick trip to inspect the place and I must say, that in this pristine environment, I was gobsmacked at what lay before me.
The landowner had shown me 2 large scale dams filled to the brim with water AND totally engulfed in various types of Aquatic Weeds which had taken over the entire 9 acres of water surface area.
The landowner could not tell me on how long it had taken for this foreign weed to take hold and suck the goodness out of the water, severely restricting any access to this once beautiful man-made waterway as both dams were fully inundated with this extremely large weed mass before he had purchased the property.
It was now my job, as an Aquatic Weed removal specialist, to come up with a plan, methodology, costing and most suitable equipment to complete the most difficult task I had yet to undertake in such an environment.
ENTER STAGE LEFT … Floating Excavators and Long Reach Excavators … the guys who have the gear which is perfectly suited to this application of mass weed removal from any affected waterway from Cairns to Castlemaine.
Now the Heking Floating Excavator is well known for its Weed and Silt cleaning abilities but with this particular dam reaching in excess of 450m x 250m it was always going to be a challenge to get this one over the line.
I decided to pick up the Cat 329c LR Excavator due to it being fitted with swamp tracks, near on 20 metres of reach to help the little Heking getting that weed mass out of the dam and onto the upper levels of dry land.
I engaged the Long Reach to skirt around the dam and pull the weed out from the shoreline to its full extended reach, creating a 18m channel around the dam and depositing the material as far back up the embankments as possible.
In doing so the Floating Excavator was then able to float out to the weed mass and commence the mammoth task of cutting it up into 400 square metre sections and floating the weed masses back to shore where the Long Reach could once again commence his role in pulling and depositing the weed out of the dam.
The weed mass, such as was in this dam, proved to work in our favour as it was so thick the Floating Excavator fitted with side pontoons could actually walk up onto the weed in those deeper sections (well in excess of our 2m safe working depth), create a smaller island of weed (up to 200 ton) and drag the island back to shore by utilising the dipper and boom of the Heking.
6 weeks later and with many thousands of tons of weed and silt mass removed Floating Excavators and Long Reach Excavators had safely and efficiently executed a contract priced job and left, which was once an environmental nightmare, an extremely large, weed free, oxygenated and debris free waterway for another very happy customer.