Saturday, October 27, 2012

Conservation Corps Update: October 24th-27th

Post contributed by Minnesota Conservation Corps Youth Outdoors Crew 2:

This past week, most of our efforts were spent on Lake Como doing shoreline restoration.  We placed the wattles and live stakes around the lakeshore to help with erosion control.  We created our own wattles and live stakes from nearby dogwood and nine-bark that needed to be pruned.  While the bio-logs that have already been placed around the lakeshore have been extremely helpful in erosion control we are hoping that this method will last even longer since many of the wattles and live stakes will grow into shrubs, whose roots will help to build a solid foundation.  We also continued removing invasive woody plants around the lakeshore.  

Smoothing out the new trails in
Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom

Installing wattles for erosion control
 at Como Lakeshore

Another task we had this week was to return to the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom to begin smoothing out the new trails and seed some areas with native grasses.  It is looking really neat and if you haven't been over to check it out you should go!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Conservation Corps Update: October 16-20th

Post contributed by Conservation Corps Youth Outdoors Crew 2:

Creating wattles for erosion
control at Lake Como
It was another busy week with a good variety of projects underway. On Wednesday, we worked with a volunteer group from Great River School at Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom (CWOC) to continue mulching in the coniferous woodland. This area will be planted in the future. We finished off the day by clearing the brand new trails that run through CWOC. They looked great and provide much better access to the different areas of CWOC. On Thursday, we worked with Youth Outdoors (YO) participants, with one crew preparing wattles to be installed at Como Lakeshore for erosion control. A wattle is a bundle of trimmings (in this case we used dogwood and ninebark shrubs) that can take root in the soil to stabilize the bank. Another crew planted plugs at the Plum Overlook at Mounds Park.  On Saturday, the West Minnehaha YO crew spent the day hauling brush on the Bruce Vento trail near Lake Phalen.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Conservation Corps Update: October 2nd-13th

Post contributed by Youth Outdoors Crew 1:
Girl Scouts collecting leaves around Lake Phalen
Youth Outdoors crew 1 (YO1) has been busy at Lake Phalen the past two weeks.  We have spent a fair amount of time removing invasive woody species, such as buckthorn, honeysuckle, and Siberian elm, along the lake shore.  In addition to that, we have helped the Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District staff with some shoreline stabilization work.

A short distance from the east side of Lake Phalen, we started cutting invasive trees and shrubs along the Bruce Vento Regional Trail.  The invasive trees along the trail have been contributing to invasive saplings popping up along the shore, so we are trying to eliminate the seed bank.

Last Saturday, with the help of Youth Outdoors Crew 2, we led groups of girl scouts in raking leaves at Lake Phalen.  The groups we led concentrated on two cotton wood stands.  Because cotton wood leaves burn poorly and leaves in general can overload lakes with nutrients, it was important to get as many leaves as we could.  In one priority area alone, the volunteers filled close to 120 bags!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Conservation Corps Update: October 9th-13th

Post contributed by Youth Outdoors Crew 2:

The first full week of October brought cooler working conditions for the crew. Never-the-less it was a week full of progress.
Installing biologs at Lake Como

Wednesday, the crew began at Como Lakeshore assessing the damage to the shoreline caused by foot traffic. There were a lot of problem spots and making note of them was the first step to finding solutions. By mid- morning biologs, which are being used to remediate shoreline erosion, were delivered and the crew began working on installing them along the north end of the lake. For the remainder of the day, the crew secured the logs, fenced in the area, and then did some live staking in hope to establish some roots to anchor the shore’s soil.

Thursday, we worked with out youth crews at Upper Landing Park next to the Mississippi and downtown St. Paul. The goal was to restore the mound features in the park which were overrun with invasive species. The peak of each mound represents the crest of a record flood of the Mississippi River. The crews cleared the weedy invasives out of each mound and completed the day by scattering native grass seeds over each mound and covering the two with the most disturbances with erosion fabric. Hopefully these desirable species will take hold of the areas where we did weed removal.

Restoring one of the mounds
at Upper Landing Park
Friday morning, the crew was back at Como returning to the survey that was started on Wednesday. We evaluated the extent of erosion and formulated a restoration plan to execute in the upcoming weeks. For the afternoon, we returned to the north end of the lake where we had installed the biologs and planted emergent plants.

Saturday’s forecast called for thunderstorms nearly all day, but it actually ended up being pretty idea work conditions. Both Youth Outdoor crews worked in the morning at Como, one planting on the north end again but this time moving outward from the shore to establish native prairie species. The other crew worked at felling larger undesirable trees into the lake as prime sunning spots for turtles. At noon, the crews relocated to assist in the volunteer event held at Lake Phalen in celebration of the Girls Scouts Centennial. The troops stuck it out through the mist and rain to rake leaves from many different areas. Two troops were especially helpful by raking leaves out of a shoreline planting to help prevent the leaves from suppressing the natives and hindering prescribed burning operations next spring.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Conservation Corps Update: October 2nd-6th

Post contributed by Youth Outdoors Crew 2:

Planting native grasses at Como Lakeshore
This week was filled with a variety of projects.  On Wednesday we visited the rain gardens in the Como area for one more check and winter preparation. We then went along the Bruce Vento trail along Lake Phalen and removed some invasive trees including buckthorn and mulberry. Thursday, we worked with our youth and added mulch around the newly restored Historic Como Lilyponds in Como Park. The design mimics the historic lilyponds that were originally constructed in Como Regional Park in 1895. The mulch that we spread will help to suppress weed growth next spring and provide a nice planting bed for us to put in native species. The funding for this restoration was secured through Arts and Cultural Heritage Legacy Funds. Friday, we spent the whole day along Como Lakeshore planting native grasses in mulched areas. To conclude the week , we finished a trash sweep around Lake Phalen and collected little bluestem seeds, which we will soon spread at another project site.