2009-03-02 Southwest Creek, west of Jacksonville, NC

2009-03-02 Southwest Creek, west of Jacksonville, NC
It was a very cold morning. We just had three days of off and on rain which raised the New River level at Gum Branch over five feet.
We knew Southwest Creek would rise too so we set out to find out what all this rain had done to the alligatorweed masses we had dislodged to float down stream with the current.

Here is our first picture at the Rte 53 Bridge west of Jacksonville. We spent one whole day here to get three very large masses which had grown in the eddys around the concrete bridge supports. This is on the upstream side of the bridge. No alligator weed!

This is the downstream side. Beautiful isn’t it without those ugly large masses of weeds. The river flow was excellent being a very strong current.

We wanted to launch our boats and head downstream. We could not paddle this section last time as blown down trees and low water made it necessary to abort the trip.

This is a shot looking downstream. That looks like a patch of alligatorweed hung up on something on the left.
We drove on down to Haws Run Bridge. There was no alligator weed to be seen there. Sorry the pictures are missing.

Our next stop was at the Old Wooden Bridge below Rte 17 in Camp Lejeune. This is looking downstream and across the river to the strainer which is always here. The high water and strong flow have almost cleaned it out. There was no alligatorweed in it.

This shot is upstream from the bridge. No alligatorweed!
Our first disaster area! We did have all alligatorweed cleared out here and downstream to salt water where it cannot live. Now here it is coming down from upstream only to be hung up at this man made obstruction. The offending obstructions are not the bridge or its supports. They are the old pilings from the old railroad bridge left in the openings between the new bridge pilings! These old pilings were cut off at water level. They should have been pulled up and out or cut off two to three feet below the surface. This would have allowed the alligator weed to float freely through downstream.

We are working with Camp Lejuene personnel to have these old pilings cut off or removed.

A view upstream from this bridge.
A view downstream from this bridg. No alligator weed in sight!
There is an island below in the middle of this bridge. This picture is of the river on the other side of the island. All openings are blocked preventing the alligatorweed from getting downstream to salt water to die.
We stopped at the Route 17 bridge. The largest mass of alligatorweed in Southwest Creek was right here on the SW side in a huge eddy. We worked another whole day right here but were only able to get about half of it freed and floating downstream. We did get it loosened from the shoreline. That was enough to allow the high water and the current to carry the rest of it away.

Here is how it looked today. We are delighted!

Another shot of the same area. That is duck weed and other floating plant material. The
alligatorweed, with its very long under water stems and roots, is gone. This is the very first time we have ever seen this area clear of alligatorweed!
This is a view of Southwest Creek looking upstream from the Maple Landing ramp off of Verona Loop Road. No alligatorweed was seen upstream or downstream from this ramp. The kill zone is above this point due to the high salt content in the water.
We hope all of the above is proof enough to demonstrate to all that our new method of attacking alligator weed to eradicate it using natures own forces is fast and efficient and preferable to using chemicals and foreign bugs wherever it is possible to get the alligator weed down to salt water.

Please come and join us on our regular trips. We will be working between the bridges and access points. We can have Southwest Creek cleared of all alligatorweed this year with your help. Thanks, Elmer

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 b