Thursday, August 22, 2013

Channel construction and the return of floodplain vegetation

Now the construction crews are grading the stream banks and building soil burritos, or Fabric Encapsulated Soil lifts.  The lifts give the banks temporary stability while the trees and shrubs put down their roots.  Eventually, the fabric will biodegrade, and the roots will take over.

Meanwhile, plants are slowly returning to the former impoundment.  So far I've seen some native plants such as Golden Hedge Hyssop and some tiny red maple seedlings coming up.  A lot of purple loosestrife was already growing next to the Mill River before the dam was removed; you can see the purple haze in the background of these photos.

The Hopewell Mills site has been slow to green up in some places.  Here's a recent photo from last week of an area that recently sprouted vegetation, including purple loosestrife:

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Mill River finds its bed

Yesterday the Mill River was fed into its original bed through the former dam site.  To everyone's excitement, natural riverbed material (gravel, cobbles, sand, a few boulders) still lay beneath the tons of riprap, wood, and concrete that comprised the Whittenton Dam.  Check out a photo from today compared with the same view from 2010.

Here's today (looking downstream):

And here's September 2010:

The work goes quickly.  Here are a few shots of the construction work:
This photo is from a few days ago -- the channel is being constructed.  The photo below is from last week and shows the vast quantity of dam debris that had to be removed.