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.
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