At low tide, the large log structures are easy to see. When the tide rises, the farther portions of land become completely submerged, separating the islands from each other and allowing for fish passage. The tides played a very large role in this project as we needed to align our work hours with the lowest water levels. It would have been immensely difficult to haul soil and plants to the farther islands if they were entirely separated by water!
After carefully spreading out the soil in preparation for planting, we were then able to position the plants. When they were all nicely situated with adequate spacing, our crew began putting them in the ground. Thank goodness we got some beautiful weather, as it made for a very enjoyable experience!
Once all the plants were in the ground, work began on the fencing. Beavers are common in the area, so we didn't want to give them the opportunity to munch on our babies before they had a chance to mature!
Once the riparian area was planted and fenced we set to work planting grasses into the intertidal zone. They look so lovely growing between all of the large woody debris we installed!
We got so carried away with planting that we didn't realize how close the tide had gotten. At one point we were really working against the clock to try and plant all of our grass plugs before we were totally submerged in the water. Never a dull moment!
In order to reduce predation on our grasses (Geese LOVE to eat these tasty plants!), we constructed improvised exclosures with caution tape and rope. We also made use of the installed pieces of large wood. Future testing will be done in order to determine how effective these methods are in increasing plant survival.
The completed project looks quite aesthetically pleasing compared to how barren the site was prior to restoration. Hopefully the surrounding community and all of the local dog walkers that frequent this site will appreciate all our hard work.
For the past few weeks we have been working with BCIT and the River's Institute installing large woody debris in the Seymour River Estuary. We are only able to work during the hours surrounding the lowest tides of the day, so there has been much work effort during the night. It is challenging to work in the estuary in the dark, but it has definitely been an rewarding experience.
The work we are doing is of paramount importance for the continued health of the estuary, as it adds complexity to the stream channel, which provides habitat for salmonid species. The main body of this work includes securing logs to large boulders placed in the stream. The logs are held in place by metal cable that is glued with epoxy into deep holes which we have drilled into the boulders.
Each hole that is drilled into the boulders must be cleaned thoroughly. This ensures that the epoxy fuses to the inside of the rock instead of any dust or grit that may have accumulated inside the drill hole. This is the most important step of our work, as it is imperative to have a firm epoxy connection to ensure the log's stability (We wouldn't want to have any errant logs drifting off downstream!).
After the rock holes are cleaned, we are able to run cable through wood holes which were initially drilled in the logs and into the boulders.
Once the cable is in place, we must then epoxy the cable-ends into the boulder to complete the final step of the process. The epoxy takes about an hour to harden, so we have to make sure this step is completed well before the tide begins to submerge the logs again.
The cabling is fairly unobtrusive, so it blends in well to the natural habitat. You can barely notice we were here at all.
Hopefully the salmon will appreciate all of our hard work!!