2009-02-18, Battling Alligatorweed in Soutwest Creek,

2009-02-19 Southwest Creek, Camp Lejuene, NC.

Battling Alligator Weed

Here is what we found on arrival at Structure # S879, being the old Atlantic Coast Railway bridge over Southwest Creek.
Notice the alligator weed has built up behind the bridge. This is because the old pilings were cut off at water level and
left in the middle of the openings between the new pilings when the bridge was rebuilt.

Back in November we spent one entire day clearing a similar buildup of alligatorweed here. This will go on forever until
these old pilings are cut off two to three feet down or pulled up and out altogether.

If these pilings were not here this large mass of alligatorweed could have passed through the clear openings and been
down to salt water where it would already have been destroyed.

It is essential that these old pilings be removed or cut off if we are ever to eradicate alligator weed in this creek.

This picture is of a large mass of alligatorweed which is the third such mass just upstream of the bridge on the right.
This picture is of the same area after we had dislodged the mass and had it floating away downstream only to be hung up again at the bridge.
Here are some more masses above the bridge on the right upstream side.
The same places after we moved them out.
This mass is upstream in the center of the stream.
The same afterwards.
Now we are on the left side still within sight of the bridge. We didn’t get an “after” shot.
Now we are upstream right again out of sight from the bridge. We had previously cleared this hang up on another trip.
We cleared it again today.

This is a very short distance up from the above. We had cleared his area too earlier.
We had a good rain and the river water level rose several inches. This brought down a lot of alligator weed from upstream.

We are very pleased with the results of our efforts to date. We will continue upstream and see no reason why we cannot have the
entire main channel cleared of all alligatorweed.

This will leave plenty to be treated with chemicals and/or flea beetles in areas we cannot get to because of blown down trees
blocking our access to them by canoes and kayaks.

These blockages should be removed too. A good crew with chain saws would do it.

All that was accomplished today was done by Jim Niedermeyer of Hubert and Elmer Eddy of Swansboro. Think of what could be done
with about 20 volunteers. All are welcome to join us on our paddle trips.

Our freezing winter temperatures are killing the weed sprouts that develop above the water with a few warm days. But today we
discovered that under water sprouts at each nodule are also growing. These are not killed but simply slowed down by cooler waters.
Today they were two to three inches long already.

By May when chemicals and flea beetles will be used these large mats will be doubled, tripled or more in size!

Why wait until then to get rid of them when we can, right now, take advantage of the winter kill and get rid of them.
If they are not there they cannot sprout and grow! To leave them there all that time is just providing a nursery for them to grow and
grow and grow as they have in past years blocking the entire river in places..

Elmer Eddy

Elmer, The White Oak River Trashman
Stewards of The White Oak River Basin
101 River Reach Drive West,
Swansboro, NC. 28584
910-389-4588 e-mail:
Please visit our website: http://www.whiteoakstewards.org/
“If no one litters, there will be no litter!”


2009-02-10, Southwest Creek, Camp Lejeune, NC.

2009-02-10 Southwest Creek
Camp Lejeune, NC
The Battle to Wipe Out Alligatorweed in Southwest Creek Continues.

If you have a map of Southwest Creek in front of you when you read
this trip report you can take this trip with us. All pictures were taken
in the side channels.

Today we launched our canoes and kayaks at the former railway bridge
over Southwest Creek again. At the end of today’s paddle we felt we can
now say our experiment to use our winter freezes, the river’s current
and the salt water intrusion to be a near completely successful in eliminating
alligator weed.

Here is why we feel we can say this. We paddled straight down the main
channel. The river was free of alligatorweed except for a few very small
patches which we quickly and very easily dislodged from whatever it was
hanging them up.

We went past the first branch on the right which the maps indicate is
a dead end. We turned up the second one on right which is a channel
which divides into two channels. We took the channel to the right and
it comes back again into one again making an island.

This was a very narrow channel. It was completely blocked in places by
combinations of downed trees and alligatorweed. We managed to get
through these spots as we had a reciprocating electric saw which enabled
us to cut our way through.

We soon came out to where the two channels became one again. It was
much wider here. In a very short distance the channel splits into two
again. The right channel took us back to the railroad bridge. Two of us
had paddled up the left fork which ended at the railroad. They said it
had alligatorweed in it also.We all had confirmed this as we had walked
across the railroad bridge to this branch and saw the alligator weed in it.

We ate lunch on the railroad bridge where we put-in. We had dislodged
three batches of alligatorweed near the beginning of the channel we had
just paddled up. This channel has a very slow current because of the many
blockages and because it is more narrow.

We had a pretty strong southern breeze This wind overpowered the current
and blew the loosened patches of alligatorweed up the creek and across the
main channel right below the railroad bridge. We got it back into the current
of main channel and floating downstream again after lunch.

We then went back to this side channel just below the bridge to the right
and paddled down it this time exploring the channels on the other side
of the islands.

This small channel off to the right had no alligator weed in it! This indicates
to us that the infestation of alligatorweed in Southwest Creek comes from
up stream.

We continued paddling downstream and soon joined the main channel again.
This time we took the center channel. It had a few mats of alligatorweed that
need to be dislodged but otherwise was surprisingly clear. We were opposite
and below where the upstream concrete barrier is in the North Run channel.

We believe the salt water kill begins about here.

This was confirmed shortly as we came upon a crab pot float we had sent adrift
on a mat of alligator weed on an earlier paddle. This float was high and dry
eight inches above the water line. The alligatorweed it was floating on was
no where to be seen. This particular crab pot float had the note we attached
in a zip lock bag still attached.

SUCCESS AT LAST! This confirms the bio-masses of alligator weed are killed
when they reach saltwater.

This was just before the cross over to the North Run channel which is below
the other concrete barrier at the end of the dirt road coming down to the river
from the end of the run way.

Our recommendation is to continue our operations upstream above the railroad
bridge in the main channel where the ordinary river current is sufficient to easily
transport it down to its demise in salt water.

Secondly, to employ professional help to remove or cut off the old pilings left
under the railroad bridge.

Third, to have the same people clear the side channels of the fallen trees blocking
them. This alone will open these smaller channels increasing the volume and
strength of the flow to carry the alligator weed down to salt water. If this is not
done spaying or flea beetles could be used in these near stagnant waters where
it is obviously flourishing.

Our volunteers today were George Speth from Wilmington, Bill Murray from
Pine Knoll Shores, Jim Niedermeyer from Hubert and the writer.

Elmer Eddy
Elmer, The White Oak River Trashman
Stewards of The White Oak River Basin
101 River Reach Drive West,
Swansboro, NC. 28584
910-389-4588 e-mail:
Please visit our website: http://www.whiteoakstewards.org/
“If no one litters, there will be no litter!”