Sunday, March 10, 2013

Report on the volunteering weekend at Puttenahalli Lake

Saturday, 9th March 2013

With some 20 volunteers responding to our call to remove the drying aquatic weed from the lake bed, it was a most satisfying morning today!

Their enthusiasm was infectious and several people stopped jogging/walking to see what they were doing, then joined them to remove the drying Salvinia Molesta. Working with a rake, a spade or simply scooping up the weed with bare hands, they filled plastic bags, formed a line on the slope, handed each bag over the grill where others waited to cart them away. The dry Salvinia can be used for mulching or composting. We have opted to compost them by laying them along the boundary fence.

Despite working hard for over two hours, only a patch of ground has been cleared. With more of you joining us tomorrow (and on subsequent weekends) we should be able to accomplish our mission of clearing the lake bed and getting it ready for the monsoon. 

Scooping the weed
More hands, less work
Aerial view
Hauling the weed
Waiting to be carted
Young helpers
Cleared patch

Sunday, 10th March 2013

Another good morning at the lake today with some new volunteers joining us. 

Y/day's experienced hands were surprised to see fish in parts of the lake, below the weed. A few were dead but thankfully, most were alive. It was not possible to pull the weed out since the fish were coming with it so the kind souls made holes in the Salvinia for the fish to breathe. A couple of volunteers transferred the fish to the pools of water, carrying them in a bucket of water. It must have been a poignant moment for our volunteers renewed their effort to pull out more Salvinia and clean the ground. 

It was a hot morning but all of us felt the satisfaction of having done a good job. 

Dedicated work
Slow and steady

Heart felt thanks to all volunteers. We look forward to having you over next weekend. Do share your experience in this forum and with your family and friends and get them over as well! 

Report and pics: Usha Rajagopalan


Jayadeep(JDP) said...

Why not leave it as is instead of removing it ? That would help retain water next year after the rains and may be do some seasonal cultivation when the lake bed dries out ?

Usha Rajagopalan said...

The Salvinia Molesta which we are removing manually from the lakebed is a notorious invasive aquatic weed that covers the surface swiftly and cuts off sunlight and oxygen. It kills not only the aquatic life but the lake itself. Just a small piece of Salvinia is enough to spread and do the damage. Hence our attempt is to remove the weed completely and then monitor the lake closely to prevent its recurrence. We don't want the lake to dry out ever and in fact, have initiated steps to divert more rain water and hope this monsoon will fill it to such an extent that even in a hot summer, there will still be sufficient water to support bird and aquatic life.