Water board looks to modernize milfoil machine fleet

Request for proposals approved for amphibious harvester

A milfoil harvester moves its way across Okanagan Lake. (File photo)

The Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) wants to consider options to modernize the milfoil harvesting machine fleet.

James Littley, OBWB deputy administrator, provided a report to the board earlier this month to seek out the purchase of an amphibious harvester, a response to many development and water-level issues faced with the current harvester machines.

Littley stated the amphibious harvester is capable of launching itself, moving up the beach to drop weeds on dry land and position the operators cab low on the machine bridge to move under the bridge in Osoyoos.

As it is driven by propellers on the stern rather than paddlewheels, it is also capable of fitting in narrower areas between docks and marinas.

“The machine only uses one conveyor belt to collect and offload the weeds, leaving it with more capacity to hold weeds while making it shorter in length than our current harvesters, and reducing the mechanical components prone to breakdown,” said Littley in his report.

While the amphibious machine would address significant operational issues, the cost to purchase and potentially import it to Canada may be more than the projected asset replacement plan to purchase two conventional milfoil harvesters at a combined cost of $500,000.

“I recommend the OBWB continued to pursue the option to procure an amphibious harvester as the lifespan of the equipment is expected to be a minimum 30 years and the current accessibility issues will likely continue to get worse,” Littley said.

The water board approved for staff to put out a request for proposals for an amphibious milfoil harvester.

READ MORE: UBCO study to investigate Eurasian milfoil sources


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