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Wellington-Based Company Weedoo Boats Helps Clean Weed-Choked Waterways Story by Matthew Auerbach Photos by Abner Pedraza and courtesy Weedoo Boats

Many people express their concerns about the precarious state of the environment. Some take action and do something about it; some don’t. John Grimes is a man of action. Grimes is the owner of Wellington-based Weedoo Boats, a company that manufactures eco-friendly vessels that help clean our local water supply without the use of the chemicals. For Grimes, the main reason for the Weedoo was literally lying in the weeds. “Aquatic weeds have been a big problem for a long time,” Grimes said. “Thousands of years ago, there was a normal, balanced level of natural phosphates in all water. Once man got here and brought agricultural and urban development, the amount of phosphoric fertilizers increased, which spurred the growth of more vegetation.” So what exactly is bad about that? “The answer is simple,” Grimes said. “First of all, the overgrowth of weeds severely affects swimming, boating and fishing. More often than not, chemicals and herbicides are used to deal with the problem. While this approach kills the vegetation, it causes the dead weeds to sink to the bottom and creates a fertilized base where the whole process begins again.” There is another method used to deal with underwater vegetation: emissions-heavy, gas-powered airboats. They can do the job in large, open areas but are unwieldy on smaller lakes, rivers and canals.

Grimes said that both of these accepted approaches have negative effects on the environment above and below the waterline. “You can’t poison your water to make it better,” he said. “So we had to figure out a way to do it mechanically.” The niche Grimes recognized was to find a way for individuals to deal with the scum, algae and loose weed problems on their own. “There was just no simple way available to the average person to help clean the lake or stream on their property without doing a massive amount of damage to the water and the amphibious life inside it,” he said. “I was determined to come up with a solution that would allow people to improve the quality of their water in an environmentally friendly way.” Enter the Weedoo. “In 2004, I decided to consult a marine architect,” Grimes said. “The plan was to design an optimum vessel that was safe, strong, practical and could do the job.” Grimes knew that conservationists recommended cutting the weeds below the surface and collecting them for compost. “That seemed to be a solution that worked for the environment,” he said. “So the plan became clear: What we would eventually produce had to be easy to use, easy to maneuver and capable of tackling all the problems associated with clearing all types of waterway

|wellington the magazine| August 2011


Wellington The Magazine August 2011  

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