|The Jute Tarp Project is Going Ahead…
After years of planning and preparation, the Association is finally proceeding with its experimental initiative to use jute tarps as a way of controlling the spread of Eurasian Milfoil on Blue Sea Lake. Biodegradable jute tarps will be carefully placed over selected concentrations and then monitored over the next five years to determine the effect on the milfoil and on the ecology of the lake. The installation will be carried out over the next month and work begins immediately.
Sébastien Duchesne, CEO of Duchesne Environnement, will direct the installation process. Working with the Société d’aménagement de mise en valeur du bassin de Batiscan (SAMBBA) Mr. Duchesne carried out a similar project on Lac à la Tortue in 2017. Our local watershed management agency, ABV des 7, will oversee the process and carry out the follow-up assessments. Project management is provided by the Association, supported by the Municipalities of Blue Sea and Messines.
Installation of the jute tarps will proceed as follows. Bales comprising 11,550 square metres of jute will arrive pre-folded in Blue Sea in late June. Beginning in early July, they will be carefully towed by boat to the precise location of the milfoil beds and deposited over the beds and sunk with the aid of 2,800 durable, polyethylene bags filled with cleaned, crushed stone (approximately 3 kg per bag). These bags must later be removed from the bottom once the jute tarps have decomposed. We expect installation to take between 12 and 14 days and will occur over the first three weeks of July, depending on weather conditions.
Prior to installing the jute tarps, the bags need to be filled with aggregate to be ready to be deployed. The bags are scheduled to arrive at la Carrière Clément Tremblay & Fils on Wednesday, June 17th. Owner Mario Tremblay has generously agreed to provide an area to fill and store the bags at the quarry and to supply the aggregate free of charge.
In addition, ABV des 7 must re-measure the milfoil beds as per the permits we have received from the Quebec government for the project. This will take place over two days in late June. ABV de 7 will also be on site in July to oversee the installation process and later in the summer for the first post-installation assessment.
Health and Safety
The project will be carried out with due regard for the health and safety of those involved. Masks and other protective equipment will be worn to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and any injuries.
Impact Beyond Blue Sea Lake
The problem of Eurasian Milfoil is widespread, not just in Blue Sea Lake, but in lakes and waterways throughout North America. This project will not solve the milfoil problem. But it can provide valuable information on whether this method can be used to control this invasive species effectively without doing damage to our marine ecosystem. The knowledge we gain from this experiment has potentially wide benefits. That’s why it’s important to be involved so we can do it right and learn all we can from the project.
… And We Need Your Help!
We are counting on local in-kind support in order to carry out this project on budget. Here’s how you can help.
Accommodation and Meals
Sebastien Duchesne will be on site from late June until the installation is complete and requires a place to stay. In addition, two employees from ABV des 7 will be on site for the re-measuring of the milfoil beds and to oversee the installation. They also need a place to stay during this period. Offers of a room or cottage and food for these visitors would be most appreciated.
We need able-bodied workers (2-4 per day) to fill the bags at the quarry in June in time for the arrival of the jute tarps and to assist with the installation in July. The work on installation essentially involves moving the bags to the desired location and helping to lower the tarps. Access to a truck to carry the bags to the work site would be an advantage.
Motorboat or Pontoon Boat and Driver
The use of a small motorboat capable of carrying the bags of stone and a helper is required to assist with the installation process.
If you can do so, please consider a donation, to help offset any unexpected costs with this project. You may make your donation online at www.associationbluesea.org. Remember, donations are subject to a tax credit. A receipt is issued for total donations of $ 20 or more during the year.
Reminders: Stop the Spread of Invasive Species
The Covid-19 pandemic has increased our awareness of the need to behave in such a way as to avoid spreading the unwanted virus. The same holds true of exotic invasive species, like Eurasian Milfoil and other invasive species as well.
1 – Make Sure Your Boats are Washed
Boat washing is mandatory in the Blue Sea watershed. Both the Municipality of Blue Sea and the Municipality of Messines have in place mandatory boat washing regulations with equipment available to properly wash your boat and fines for violations. Whether you have a residence somewhere on the watershed or are visiting from elsewhere, ensure that your boat is properly washed and that you have the certificates in place to prove it.
2 – Avoid the Milfoil Beds by Staying Away from Yellow Buoys
Each year volunteers with the Blue Sea Watershed Association devote considerable effort to identify and mark the worst milfoil beds on the lake with yellow buoys. These are meant to signal areas on the lake that have significant milfoil concentrations and are to be avoided if you are traveling on the lake by boat.
Why? The turbulence caused by the passage of boats and, all the more so, any physical shock or contact causes fragmentation of the milfoil plants. The fragments will then settle elsewhere, thereby increasing the presence of this invader. So, when you are boating on Blue Sea and see a yellow buoy, stay away, and ask your friends to do the same.