Our initial milfoil suction dredge affectionately dubbed HIPPO 1 (Herbaceous invasive plant processing operation no. 1) is going through a transformation to a lighter more efficient craft. The original separation trough and base, built of plywood with the ingenuity and craftsmanship of Bill Shelly and associates at Neil and Gunter, has served us well with minor upgrades and repairs for five years and finally succumbed to the ravages of time and weather. A new trough and base unit is being put together by board member Scott Lowell and crew. The new fiberglass, Lexan and composite system will be somewhat smaller and lighter than the former plywood version and make the systems on HIPPO 1 and 2 very similar from the standpoint of parts and system function.
The conversion should be finished by the time of the annual meeting if all the necessary components arrive as scheduled. The two boats will then be staffed and working on the lake removing milfoil until early October.
There are many fond and comical memories of the trial renditions of pumps, hoses, pipes, troughs and flying water that led us to the development of the first properly working suction system for invasive plant separation. HIPPO 1 and the work of LSLA to build it will always be remembered as the pioneer of successful suction harvest of invasive plants in Maine.
Stay tuned for more about the transformation process.