Updated Saturday, February 26, 2011 It poured, and snowed, and blew all week long, but as fate would have it today dawned bright and brisk and clear and so the project was on! Rangers Pamela and Di had staged the coir (the straw-colored rolls you see here, more on that below) and a big pile of basalt rocks at the edge of the prairie beforehand, and here she is offloading a bunch of fresh willow stakes to be driven into the mud for rooting into new trees. You can also see some red elderberry, propagated from cuttings taken in the park, and a whole bunch of tools.
The first thing to do was to carry everything down the hill, of course, which included most of that pile of basalt rocks. Thing is, someone had already made their home there…
…to wit, the smallest snake I have ever found in the wild. Contia tenuis, or sharp-tailed snake.
This little guy/gal was immensely popular for a few minutes, as a family picnicking at the bench on the knoll in Prince Prairie had grown curious about what was going on and came down for a visit at just the right time for a good wildlife moment. And then said wildlife slithered off at speed into a thicket, safely out of our way as we carried the dam-building materials down the hill and into a chokepoint of the gully.
As you can see from this photo here to the left, this gully is aptly named, for it is huge… long, deep, wide, and still cutting rapidly into the earth.
If I understand correctly, today’s checkdam installation is not intended primarily to heal the overall gash in the earth here, but rather to slow and settle out some of the silt that would otherwise make it to the spawning gravels of Redwood Creek during this, the spawning season.
The healing of those mud cliffs you see upstream will be the focus of later workdays.
In the photo below and to the left here, Ranger Pamela is demonstrating how to dig out a crosswise notch in the earth for the wattle material to rest in. Once laid in place, the tiered segments of coir material are very firmly secured by both bracketing and pinning them with long steel stakes:
Much more of the story to tell! For now here is a partial slideshow of the day:
And here is a continuation of the day, now using my camera phone as my regular camera ran out of battery. The pixels are fewer, so lower-res, but some v.good action and documentation shots here: