Diane, Ernest and I visited the new wetlands this weekend, so I thought it a good time to update people on the progress of each site. Both projects are now fenced which is particularly good in the case of Strawberry Hill. Two days after we finished planting, cows were all over the site and in the water. Luckily, it seems the plants survived and the cows are now excluded.
There was some initial excitement as the water at the base of the ramp had risen overnight, then concern when, 2 days later, it was gone. Ernest suggested that the ground was just getting saturated where it had previously been dry, and sure enough, there was water when we visited this weekend. Not a lot, but there nonetheless!
Overall, he thought the project was a big improvement to the original wetland. The fall rye was sprouting and the fall colours really highlighted the setting.
Ernest was concerned that the ramp did not extend far enough into the ‘pond’, and that more depth was needed to ensure water through the summer. If funds were available, it would not take much to have a smaller machine fix the problem. A slightly steeper ramp would not deter cattle.
Stud Pasture is also doing well with good plant survival and slightly higher water levels in the 2 deepest holes of the complex. The water is clear and full of insects. I think it will look great in spring when the melt fills all the depressions. There is no recent sign of cattle use in this area, but the original site is a popular bedding ground for a lot of deer, possibly a moose and tons of little critters like mice and voles. A big improvement over what was a compacted mud hole less than 18 months ago. Ernest was impressed with our gathering and spreading of the foxtail barley seed, and speculated that that was perhaps one of the most useful things we did to combat the potential weed problem.
The biggest changes will be evident next spring at high water and as plants begin to grow. Stay tuned for contrast photos!