September 7th, 2007

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Pleasant places

The following pictures represent progress.   The first was taken about 2 1/2 years ago, in the spring of 2005.   This is the west gully system, which when we bought the place was a bare scar across the NW meadow.  The sides were slumping in and eroding with every rain, and there was no vegetation on the bare sides and bottom. By early 2005, the native grass seed we'd put out had begun to take hold here and there, and the cut cedars we piled into the gully--though they were swept downstream in big floods--gave some chance for plants to establish and some of those lived. Still, you can see where sheet erosion has "pedestaled" clumps of grass near the gully.

Today, a picture taken a little upstream shows considerable recovery (a wet year always helps!) with more native grasses, forbs, and sedges moving in, and emergent aquatic vegetation (mostly water willow) covering the bottom of the gully.  The gully is wider, with "stepped" sides from slump.

The gully extends on upstream, as a series of pools in a shallow curve to the right, but more and more it's becoming a seasonal wetland, attractive to those species that like a sunny, open habitat.

In contrast to this "open" aquatic habitat, the main creek's western tributary, which we call Westbrook,  is in a a narrow band of woods  for its entire length on our property.    Sometime in the past, it carved a deep gully, but now that's all wooded, and the creek itself is shallow, with vegetation up to the margin.   It's only seasonal, but when it has water, it's particularly beautiful.

Since we made the rock crossing for trucks and the tractor, this porous "dam" has held water in the upper Westbrook longer--and that's very popular with the birds and other wildlife that prefer a secluded place to drink and bathe.