Stream and Ponds
Trees & Shrubs
East Bank Wetlands Plastic Remediation
|The farm's eastern watershed drains through the ravine in front of the farmhouse, passing under the driveway through a culvert before it enters the creek. Decades of silt accumulation behind the driveway berm has raised the ravine floor, creating a flat expanse through which the stream meanders and oozes, lost in the dense, weedy growth that thrives on the abundant moisture.
The East Bank Wetlands covered with a layer of black plastic, February 2000.
|The extremely aggressive, non-native reed carary grass (Phalaris arundinacea), had established a monoculture in this so-called wetland, so we decided to eliminate it in favor of a more diverse, better-behaved collection of moisture-loving plants. Chemical eradication was out of the question, especially because it was an area with water flowing directly into a salmon-bearing creek. Mechanical removal by pulling or digging was hopelessly ineffective. We knew that heavy shade would kill this grass, so we gave it the heaviest shade we could find - a 4000 square foot sheet of 6-mil black plastic.
Pulling back the black plastic after one growing season, February 2000.
|After only one growing season under the plastic, the ever-aggressive canary reed grass, which can get up to 8 feet tall, was reduced to bare muck. We hustled up a work crew and pulled on the heavy, mud-laden plastic to cover the next infested section of the wetland.
Plastic pulling work party, February 2000.
|With our new blank, muddy slate, we planted a variety of native and non-native wetland plants in the spring of 2000. An excavator dug a narrow pond along the driveway in the fall of 2000, also placing large boulders as stepping-stones across the pond. Over the winter of 2000/2001, we hand-dug numerous small ponds, channels, berms and islands to create a variety of water depths and soil moisture levels, accommodating as many wetland environments as possible. The restoration process will take the better part of a decade to complete. It is an ongoing and fun work of landscape art, with new designs popping up as we go along.