Project image
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pledged of CA$ 80,000pledged of CA$ 80,000 goal
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, July 22 2018 7:04 PM UTC +00:00
Last updated July 26, 2018

The LakeSaver; Save Lakes and Fish from Eurasian Milfoil

Developing a system and a DIY kit to control Eurasian Milfoil, an invasive water plant that is rapidly spreading across North America

The LakeSaver; Save Lakes and Fish from Eurasian Milfoil

Developing a system and a DIY kit to control Eurasian Milfoil, an invasive water plant that is rapidly spreading across North America

pledged of CA$ 80,000pledged of CA$ 80,000 goal
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, July 22 2018 7:04 PM UTC +00:00
Last updated July 26, 2018

What is a prototype?

A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:

Proof of Concept

Explorations that test ideas and functionality.

Functional Prototype

Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.

Appearance Prototype

Looks like the final product, but is not functional.

Design Prototype

Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.

Production Prototype

Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.

Project supporting material callout image

Prototype Gallery

These photos and videos provide a detailed look at this project’s development.

About

A State-of-the-art System and Kits to Control Eurasian Milfoil

Checkout who we are and our story: Our Story Video

Eurasian Water - Milfoil is a very invasive water plant. One of the reasons that this plant is so invasive is that it spreads through stem fragmentation; e.g. if a single plant is cut into 10 pieces, it will grow 10 more plants from those pieces. It is a very fragile plant and easily chopped up by a canoe paddle or boat propeller.  It is in over 10,000 locations and threatens 100's of 1,000's of lakes, rivers and fish habitats across North America.

Block-Aid’s Burlap Solution

Block-Aid’s burlap solution represents the automation of the original manual process developed by ABV des 7 as well as a do-it-yourself Dock Kit.  Both are used to effectively treat an entire lake - see Treating a Lake below. 

ABV des 7 is a non-profit environmental group in Gatineau, Quebec and it is responsible for the 7 watersheds of South West Quebec. Upon reviewing all the possible solutions, it decided to experiment with burlap to cover (and kill) the milfoil, since it seemed to be the most efficient and environmentally friendly approach.  The following image shows the edge of one of those tests showing non-treated vs treated areas.

The Block-Aid industrial system (LakeSaver prototype shown above) is computer controlled and Satellite guided to accurately install burlap on lake or river bottoms down to 12 ft deep.

Block-Aid's do-it-yourself burlap kits are used for small areas around private docks. Each kit covers an area of 3.8m wide X 10m long and includes bags for sand and instructions. Shoreline rocks can also be used to hold the burlap in place.

To properly control milfoil on a lake, both the public high traffic and private dock areas must be treated, to stop the fragmentation in a lake.  As a result Block-Aid offers a low cost high volume solution as well as a DIY kit for private dock areas.

FIND OUT MORE

Check out our Website: www.blockaid.ca

This is our Story: Our Story

Description of Fishing Lure Kit Rewards: Lure Kits

Read This if Using a Burlap Kit in Canada:  Permit Requirements

The Automated Process: How Does the Industrial Barge (LakeSaver) Work.pdf

DIY Dock Kit: What is a DIY Dock Kit.pdf

Sportfishing Threatened: Sport Fishing Threatened by Spread of Eurasian Milfoil.pdf 

Impact on Cottages: The Spread of Eurasian Milfoil Will Cost Cottagers Billions.pdf

Treating a Lake: How to treat an entire lake for Eurasian Milfoil.pdf

Brochure - English: Control of Eurasian Milfoil Brochure.pdf

Brochure - French: Dépliant Contrôle du Myriophylle.pdf

Light Reading: Aliens unwelcome.pdf

Frequently Asked Questions: FAQ

ABV Des 7 Information

Original Study: Aquatic weed control and habitat restoration using biodegradable jute matting.pdf

Testing: Testing Poster.pdf

Milfoil Survey: ABV des 7 Milfoil Analysis of 13 Lakes.pdf

Other Technologies: Why the ABV des 7 chose the burlap as a method of Eurasian Water Milfoil control.pdf

Don’t Cross Contaminate - EN: Do not Cross Contaminate - EN.jpg

Don’t Cross Contaminate - FRDo not Cross Contaminate - FR.jpg

Risks and challenges

The basic burlap process was developed and tested by a number of environmental groups and has been installed by a number of lake associations, all with good success. In 2010 a study was successfully completed in Ireland to control a water plant similar to Milfoil (Caffrey et al., 2010). ABV des 7 (ref-1) then tested the process on Eurasian Milfoil in a 3-year study from 2012 to 2015. Their study demonstrated that the burlap process has been proven to effectively kill off Eurasian Milfoil in the first season and the burlap will biodegrade in 1 to 3 years, providing an environmentally safe solution.

Following the ABV des 7 study a number of lake associations ran similar installations to treat their lakes, with similar results. In short, the burlap process has been proven to be an environmentally safe solution to kill off Eurasian Milfoil.

The only challenge with the original process was that it was extremely labour intensive. The original process involved sewing together 6-foot-wide strips of burlap, filling sandbags and a crew of people to drag the burlap in place in install the sand bags. SCUBA divers also were used to help place the burlap on the lake bottom. Block-Aid supported ABV des 7 with many of those installations and still works with ABV des 7 to support ongoing studies and to inspect the previous installations on an annual basis.

Once ABV des 7’s study was approved by their Ministry of the Environment as an environmentally safe solution to control Eurasian Milfoil, Block-Aid was incorporated and then focused its efforts on improving the installation process. Block-Aid then developed a simple do-it-yourself burlap kit for small areas, which could be easily installed by 2 to 4 people in a boat. It also developed an industrial system to economically install burlap on a very large scale.

The do-it-yourself burlap kits have no risks or challenges associated with them. Meeting the minimum funding of this project will allow Block-Aid to order enough burlap kits to achieve the volume pricing required to deliver the kits at the promised cost.

The LakeSaver system is an automation based on the ABV des 7 burlap process. As such, there are no risks related to whether the burlap process will work. The first prototype was constructed and has gone through significant testing, both on dry land and in the water. Based on that testing, a number of upgrades were made to the design. This funding campaign will support the manufacture and testing of the latest design improvements. If the minimum funding level is exceeded the funds will support further development of the industrial LakeSaver system.

The primary challenges of the automated system are well understood and have been resolved with the existing prototype. These challenges and solutions are as follows (not in any particular order).

Managing a 12 ½ ft wide X 1,400-pound roll of burlap.
• This was resolved by adding a roll support and articulated arm which unravelled the 12 ½ foot wide burlap fabric. The burlap was then weaved through the articulated arm and laid on the lake bottom.

The time and effort to fill 1,000s of sandbags.
• This was resolved by developing an automated process that didn’t require sand bags. A constant flow process was developed that can be stopped and started as required. The sand from a sand hopper flows into water/sand mixers which then guides the mixture to the end of the arm via three hoses. The mixture is then sprayed on to the burlap as it is laid.

Sometimes the burlap must be installed with very poor visibility, depending on water conditions. When installing burlap, each strip needs to slightly overlap the previous piece for proper coverage. Currents and cross winds add to the challenge of aligning the burlap strips.
• This was resolved by adding a computer which is guided by a Global Satellite Navigational System (GNSS). This system accurately guides the LakeSaver through the installation path.
• The GNSS guided computer also helps to compensate for light currents and cross winds during burlap installations.
• A manual joystick override with cruise control was added to control the LakeSaver position if manual control is required.
• The computer controls the direction and rotation of the barge using 4 proportional hydraulic thrusters, one in each corner of the barge.

Making a 12 ½ foot cut in the burlap underwater at the end of each installed strip
• A special underwater cutter was developed to achieve this.

Following the contour of the lake bottom with the articulated arm and being able to manually raise it over underwater obstacles.
• This was resolved by adding floatation to the 1,800-lb articulated arm reducing its weight to 100-lbs underwater. The arm was also sheeted in so that it laid the milfoil down and glided easily across the bottom.
• A future modification will be to add electronic bottom sensors to improve this process.

Further development of the barge is related to fine tuning the existing features as well as the computerization of the other existing manual hydraulic systems. This will lead to further automations and semi-automations of the entire system. In general, the development activities will take a significant effort, but are considered low risk activities.

This development is led by Rob Perrins P.Eng., who has over 32 years’ experience in the development and commercialization of electro-mechanical systems including hydraulics, controls, quality systems and manufacturing.

(Ref-1)
ABV des 7, is a non-profit environmental group responsible for the 7 watersheds North of Gatineau Quebec, Canada. They consider Eurasian Milfoil as their number one environmental challenge. www.abv7.org

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Funding period

- (30 days)

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