By Hazel England, GSWA Director of Education, Outreach, and Stewardship
Hurricane Ida hit the region hard at the beginning of September, causing untold flood damage to properties that had previously never seem flooding, along with many that are built on floodplains and flood repeatedly. While it was likely a hundred-year storm, they seem to be occurring on five yearly cycles to the region! Help us get things in order…
Our own 73-acre Conservation Management Area (CMA) is a floodplain forest and is expected to receive water when the stream overflows it’s banks. We are used to having some water on our trails and appreciate this as an ecological service provided by the protected, open space we manage. It protects downstream properties from flooding even more extensively, as do many pieces of upstream protected open space.
The recent restoration carried out in 2020 has allowed even more flood water to be stored on the property. However, even our amazing CMA could not cope, with the nine inches of rain that deluged the area in five hours. Surveying the property days later we witnessed two 100-foot-long boardwalks that had been washed 50 feet off trails. Bridges crossing the usually placid stream had been undercut, and giant trees were lodged 10 feet up in the branches above the stream.
We have spent the last few weeks putting things right so that hikers may continue to have access the trails of the property and we can use the site for our educational field programming for schools. With the help of BMS, Teva Pharmaour, and our new friends at Schindler elevator in Morristown, we have managed to undo some of the damage to our newly created boardwalks around our trail system. Just as we had finished building hundreds of feet of new boardwalk this summer to traverse wetter spots of the trail system when Ida hit. We mulched much of the green trail and put all the boardwalks we could back in place. Many thanks to all who helped out at these corporate workdays! That said, we could certainly use more help.
If you know of a community or corporate group that might enjoy giving back to the local environment while strengthening their bond as a team, we would appreciate the help! We always have a range of tasks from lighter to heavier, so there is a job for everyone!
We can work with you for a half or full day (9 AM to 12 PM or 9 AM to 3 PM). Our workdays continue into November and start up again in late March, so please email Hazel England, GSWA Director of Education, Outreach, and Stewardship at HazelE@greatswamp.org for more information or to sign up!