Project construction is nearing the end! In the months of October and November, we’ve completed two, 500+ linear feet toewood structures and transplanted nearly 50 trees on the outside banks of the Archey Fork river. These trees consisted of willows, alders, sycamore, and river birch – all extracted onsite!
We held field tours of the project site on October 22nd for the Clinton Chamber of Commerce group and guests, and again on November 19th for The Nature Conservancy Board of Trustees and members of The Nature Conservancy’s North America Management Team. Joy DeClerk also delivered a project update to the Upper Little Red Audubon Society on the evening of October 22nd.
We want to thank the local people of Clinton for engaging with us as we implement this project. We have been excited to see your active involvement, questions, and enthusiasm for what we anticipate to be a big enhancement to the City Park, the floodplain, and the river and all of its inhabitants. Please see the series of photos for the work that has been completed to date.
As we begin to butt up against mother nature’s plans for this winter with rain, ice, and snow accumulating over the last week, we are focused solely on our last task at hand – the J-Hook structure. This is the last structure we are building before finally opening up the channel and allowing the main flow of water through the newly constructed river bends. Once weather allows, we anticipate this final structure complete within a week’s time.
We have made some serious progress folks! Ok, here’s the skinny: The toewood structure begins with laying foundation logs at specified angles to the tangent lines along the curve of a stream bank (see first diagram). Following this, root wad logs are cantilevered over the foundation logs with the root wads facing the stream, a.k.a. prime fish habitat! (see diagram 2) Then we place trash wood (tree tops, limbs, etc) on top of the root wad logs and back fill with soil. That is where we are as of today. The rest of this week will be spent backfilling, sloping and grading the new stream bank. Please take a look at the structure diagrams & photos below, and compiled game camera shots we’ve put together for you (our video is live at: http://youtu.be/gaFRi-ech4s our second video is live at: http://youtu.be/SnO19kJX20A ). Follow along as we progress through the completion of this structure. We are excited about our quick progress and look forward to keeping you posted as we continue!
Joy DeClerk – Project Lead
Foundation Log placement: Courtesy of Wildland Hydrology
Root wad placement: Courtesy of Wildland Hydrology
Mitchell and Bonnie
Foundation log placement
Root wad placement
Root wads, looking downstream
Willow cuttings placed behind root wads
After several months of hauling material on site, completing the project flood model, processing & receiving permits, and ordering equipment rental, we finally arrived to the start date – appropriately the day after labor day! This day has been long awaited by all of the TNC team members, partners, and local Clinton advocates of the project. A big thank you again to Mr. Dwight Hutto for donating the tornado damaged trees from his property to be used for such an important purpose. We not only got the pleasure of meeting and befriending Mr. Hutto, but also hearing many of his stories, often leaving us in belly laughter!
As many of you are probably wondering, what is the order of things for the project implementation? Well, first the important things – Erosion Control! The first groundbreaking was to dig a sediment retention pond. We are in a nice dry spell right now with extremely low flows – just what the Dr ordered! But, if this summer is any indicator of weird & unusual weather, we know to be prepared for anything. So, although we are working in a very dry and small channel, we developed a series of levees to block all drainage from our construction area. From these levees and thus isolated ponds we can pump to the sediment retention pond if needed, should water rise, or rainfall come, so that the turbid water can settle out before we return it to the main channel. We also use hay bales at the outflow of each pond to further filter any running water. Bonnie mounted a rain gauge onsite and began documentation of our activities and best management practices – all important requirements of our state and federal permits.
excavation for toewood structure placement
Melissa and Mitchell
He’s in charge!
Bonnie filling out erosion control paperwork
Tornado tree harvest & hauling from Mr. Hutto’s property
Hauling in rootwads for toewood structures
Excavated Channel: prepared for log layout
Finally digging began. To install the toewood structure, it requires excavation of the existing bank – why? So when the rootwads are placed facing the stream, they are as low in the channel as possible to prevent premature decaying and so we can use the material we excavated as much needed back fill and good river soil to nourish our plantings and transplanted trees and shrubs. More info and pictures to come on this as we begin to build the toewood structure – stay tuned!
The amount of dirt to dig was a lot and we needed backup – so we ordered one more excavator onsite to help us get the job done quickly – Thank you Clark Machinery for providing a great machine on short notice. Aside from feeling a bit like digging in a giant sandbox (who doesn’t love that?) it took patience, planning (where are we putting all of this?), and persistence. Thanks to Aaron Reid (Reid & Sons Construction) who always has an eye for preparing for the next step, we are now in a place where we can begin building the first toewood structure. Take a look at our pictures from this first excellent week of work and stay tuned as we keep you updated along the way. Thank you for your interest in our project – our goal is to provide a quality river restoration project that eliminates excessive erosion of land, re-establishes much needed habitat for the fish and critters we love to see and catch, a project that we can all be proud of; a place where we can fish, swim and play. We appreciate the warm welcome many of you have given us as we begin this project and look forward to meeting more of you along the way!
Joy DeClerk – Project Lead
Thank you to everyone who joined us for the Archey Fork Restoration Project ground-breaking ceremony on June 28th. We kicked everything off at 10:30am and were lucky to have fairly decent temperatures. Hey, it’s summer in Arkansas…what can you expect?
Among the speakers were Scott Simon, The Nature Conservancy of Arkansas director, Mark Boling, President of V+ Development Solutions, Don Richardson, former Mayor of Clinton, and Joy DeClerk, the restoration project leader. After the ceremony, Joy led a field trip around the site to explain more of the project.
You will be seeing some action in the next couple of weeks, as we continue to transport equipment and materials to the site. Thank you to the local landowners that have donated approximately 200 tornado-damaged trees so far to the project. Construction will begin once the transportation of materials is complete.
We are so fortunate to have such great partners and a supportive and welcoming community in Clinton. Thank you again to our partners and friends!
A Powerpoint presentation of the construction process at the Middle Fork Saline River Restoration Site. Much of the same process will be used during construction on the Archey Fork Little Red River this summer in Clinton, Arkansas. If you need to take a longer look at any of the slides, just pause the video.
This video shows a quick step-by-step process of the construction involved in a river restoration project. The construction in the video was at a site on the Middle Fork Saline River, in Garland County, Arkansas. Much of the same process will be used during construction on the Archey Fork Little Red River this summer in Clinton, Arkansas.
Did you miss hearing Joy speak about our restoration plans this fall? Please join us on April 16th at the Clinton Chamber of Commerce meeting near the airport to meet our crew and get updates on the Archey Fork restoration project. Stay tuned for more info on the specific time and location.