Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The last scoop

November 27, 2012 -- Today, RC&D removed the last scoop of sediment from the former mill pond.  The floodplain of the river is now revealed. 


Unlike what you might expect, the floodplain is not flat -- instead, it has gently sweeping highs and lows.  The engineers had included highs and lows in the design plans (referred to as "microtopography").  In the end, it was not necessary to build in the microtopography; it was already present in the natural contours.

Over the next week, landscapers will be planting the floodplain with native trees and shrubs, tailoring the location of the plants to the topography.  Plants that prefer wetter conditions will cluster in the low spots.  Those that thrive in slightly dryer conditions will sit on the gentle rises.  Next spring, as plants bloom or leaf out, this topographic variation will lead to a colorful mosaic.

Monday, November 5, 2012

What do the neighbors think?

The Mill River is lucky to have the Machado family watching out for it.  From their lawn at the upstream end of the former mill pond, the Machados have had a front-seat view of the dam removal project.  Every day, rain, shine, or hurricane, the Machados are outside watching the construction action.  They are familiar with every detail of the construction work.  On weekends, when the construction crews are at home, the Machados relocate fish and turtles from the construction site to nearby rivers and ponds. 

"This project is a dream come true," says Mr. Machado.  "I never thought I would see it happen in my lifetime".  He and his family enjoyed watching the swans, geese, ducks, and turtles that lived in the impoundment.  Now they are excited to see herring, kingfishers, ducks, herons, and eel return to the river in the spring.  We fully expect that the turtles will be back, too.

Here's the view from the Machado's lawn last week.  The dam site is too far in the distance to see; you are looking downstream towards it.  The Mill River is in its new channel and is almost bankfull in response to Hurricane Sandy.

Here's the same view a month ago:

And here's the site looking upstream from the former dam towards the Machado's house: