by Carrie Stephen In ERT, we serve on a lot of very important projects. But often times, we give our time and work hard, but we don't necessarily get to see the benefits or results of what we have done. We may build a fireline, but never see the burn. Or we may burn an area, but the results take many years to see. We may restore a glade, and although we can see the canopy open up, we don't necessarily get to see the grasses slowly come back. We may spray invasives encroaching along the highways, but unless you are sent back to the next zone the following year, you don't usually get to see them disappear.
This past month, my team worked on woodland restoration in Forest Park, which does give a bit of a peak into results. As we thin the forest, the floor slowly lets more light in, and it's easy to see the difference. Although the grasses and wildflowers will take longer to return, it's good to know they will have what they need. Even more satisfying than watching this canopy open up to the sky, we spent a few days installing some check dams at a site that was experiencing some heavy water erosion during rainfall.
We worked very hard the first two days, as there was a storm predicted for that week. We didn't finish installing all of our check dams before the storm hit, but we installed enough that we could see how they had faired in the weather. The day after the storm, we wandered up the hill, and behold, there behind our logs set in the ground, we could see sediment that had settled instead of washing down. One of the check dams even had a pool of water behind it, demonstrating for us that the water did slow down enough to keep the erosion at bay. It was a pretty exciting day, and with the knowledge that our hard work was paying off, we eagerly installed the remaining check dams. The finished result? A beauty to behold.