Hello Conservationist Volunteers
Once again a big thank you to all of the 19 volunteers who attended what was a very productive work morning yesterday, and also in the dry before the much needed rain arrived in the afternoon!
At Shepherd Wheel, Glyn and Chris removed two large self sets near the inflow which if left would have damaged the stone wall, and they then continued clearing the path alongside the dam.
Over at Forge Dam, we had a team out yet again in the wet woodland pulling more Himalayan Balsam from an area where it seems to have taken over. It's a bit like painting the Forth Bridge for the volunteers with this invasive and non-native plant!
Opposite the playground by the steps, Tricia, Janet and Elizabeth continued to mattock, fork and dig another area of hard, compacted bare soil to plant more plants donated by volunteers which will improve the area come next Spring.
Up at the old boathouse a team cut down all the laurel which was growing against the railing facing the dam, as well as cutting down an old laurel bush at the side of the steep path. The Parks Dept will remove the stumps.
However the main task was for a team to investigate and try to improve the lack of water reaching Wire Mill Dam. The Parks Dept had blocked the grill at Forge Dam earlier in the week so that all the water now flowed over the weir and onto the Wire Mill head goit entrance instead of bypassing it down the mill race behind the cafe, but the next weir which feeds the head goit to Wire Mill was leaking badly and water was flowing underneath it. The Parks Dept had been back the day before to position sandbags to divert the water and dig some silt out of a section of the goit which had some effect but still not enough water was flowing to feed Wire Mill.
Peter turned up with a container of milk which wasn't for providing a nice cup of coffee for the team unfortunately, but to throw in the river to try and trace the source of the leak which we could then fill with sandbags! This plan proved unsuccessful so Plan B was to use the silt from the goit to fill bags to extend the line of the sandbags across the full width of the river before the weir to try and hold back more water to flow into the goit. The height of the sandbags was also raised.
At the same time another team worked along the full length of the goit to Wire Mill deepening and clearing a channel to improve the flow. Once at Wire Mill the improvement to the flow of water by both teams could clearly be seen, however as it entered Wire Mill it was spreading out across the mud at the entrance and therefore not all of it was going into the dam where it was most needed. A channel was dug where possible to direct the water into the dam, however the depth of the sticky mud was a deciding factor on how much we could actually do when you sink up to your knees in mud and have to dig yourself out!
There was a definite improvement and with rain forecast hopefully Wire Mill will start to fill but we will be keeping a close eye on the situation and liaising with the Parks Dept.
The next work morning is on Tuesday 28th September. The usual email will be sent out nearer the time.
A Selection of photos from the work morning
Peter, Nick and John damming the leaky weir
Temporary damming completed
Water starting to enter Wire Mill Dam
The old boathouse after cutting down the laurel
Another patch of barren earth dug and planted