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Waterways Ireland Harvesting over 30 Tonnes of Weed from Lough Erne

18th August 2010
Waterways Ireland Harvesting over 30 Tonnes of Weed from Lough Erne
Waterways Ireland has, since the 2nd of August been removing over 30 tonnes of weed from Upper Lough Erne on Ireland's inland waterways per week. In a concerted programme of weed cutting and removal the North-South Body has been working intensively to keep the Erne System’s main navigation channel between Belturbet and Enniskillen open to navigation. Water levels and weather during the spring and summer have combined to provide conditions for mass aquatic weed growth. Aquatic weed is now present in quantities not encountered since 2004.

Boaters are advised to navigate with caution in the main and secondary channels on Upper Lough Erne. Mass weed is present in many shallow bays and other shallow areas of the Upper Lough and boaters should either avoid these areas or exercise caution.

Waterways Ireland purchased a specialist weed harvester in 2005 and has been using it to remove between 30 and 40 tonnes of weed per week from the navigation.  Harvesting began on 2 August and is concentrated initially on the main navigation channel between Belturbet and Enniskillen. When resources allow, harvesting in the secondary channels will be undertaken.

Harvesting, handling and disposal of weed is carried out in line with procedures agreed with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.

If snagged by weed, boaters should turn off the engine and use a safe means to de-foul the propeller and water intake. If the water intake has been blocked, close the fresh water internal isolation valve and clear the filter.

Up-to-date navigational information for any part of the Erne System may be obtained from the Lough Erne Warden on Tel no +44 28 6632 2836.
Published in Inland Waterways Team

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