By Pat Loeb


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Young Philadelphia rowers compete on the Schuylkill River on Saturday in one of the city’s biggest one-day boat races. When competitors in the ‘Philly Youth Regatta’ hit the water, they will be battling not only each other, but a forest of weeds underneath the water.

Photo credit: Pat Loeb

Photo credit: Pat Loeb

Al Wachlin is the captain of the oddest-looking boat on the Schuylkill. The boat is a combination between a Huck Finn raft and John Deere harvester, he takes her out with crews of four to clear the aggressive, invasive weeds that are clogging the water way between Boathouse Row and East Falls.

Photo credit: Pat Loeb

Photo credit: Pat Loeb

“It’s been horrendous, especially on the west side and wherever the water is shallow,” he said.

Wachlin is a volunteer for the Schuylkill Navy, which is an amateur sports club. They’re not marine biologists. They don’t know exactly what the weeds are. They think it’s so bad this year, because of the mild winter and silt build-up.

Wachlin said it’s underscored the need for dredging, which they’re lobbying the Army Corps of Engineers for, so far, there’s no commitment.