Cutting, shredding and pumping
On behalf of Vereniging Natuurmonumenten (Society for the Preservation of Nature in the Netherlands), Van Aalsburg has been assigned the task of cutting sphagnum moss in the Nieuwkoopse Plassen, or Nieuwkoop Lakes (the PAS project). Sphagnum moss is a floating root mass that lies on the water like an airbed; it vibrates when you walk over it. It eventually turns into a reed bed, between which peat moss grows. Peat moss reed beds are however extremely nutrient-poor and therefore very sensitive to nitrogen.
Unfortunately, nitrogen proved to be disastrous for the peat moss reed beds in the Nieuwkoopse Plassen, one of the last to survive in the Netherlands. Natuurmonumenten therefore wants to create new sphagnum moss bogs and is attempting to restore the original vegetation and associated fauna through sod cutting. Van Aalsburg cuts over 1 hectare of sphagnum moss and digs over 1,300 m2 of trenches. Sod cutting is carried out with a floating crane with a long boom. The released material is ground using a specially designed shredder pump and pumped through a pressure pipe to a temporary depot surrounded by ring dykes. Inside the depot are compartments with overflow boxes.