Monday, August 30, 2010

Restoration Begins Last Week of September

Habitat restoration begins!!

The Willowbrook Reach is about to get its first installment of trees, shrubs and seeds to begin the habitat restoration process. Beginning on Sept 27 2010 and lasting through Oct 8 (two weeks), the Watershed Protection Department and Austin Youth Works will begin planting native shrubs and trees along the upper 1/3 of the Reach. This coincides roughly with the area from the the intersection of Half Penny and Sycamore upstream to Cherrywood. The restoration project will occur on both sides of the greenbelt. We're calling this Phase I of the restoration.

WPD will reseed the entire Phase I area with native wildflowers and grasses. And, they will be installing a temporary sprinkler system (temporary meaning two to three years) to water all these new plants. Watering will occur in the wee hours of the morning, probably from 2 - 5 am in order to minimize evaporation and interference with human activities (like enjoying the Reach). Sprinklers will probably cycle on in intervals of about 5 minutes on and 15 minutes off. This is so no water builds up and causes erosion. Small amounts of water will be applied in pulses over the several hour period.

The lower 2/3 of the Reach will continue to be mown 2-3 times per year (details are still being worked out) from the street to the trail. So they will come and mow that area during this time as well. (So long Johnson grass!)

A plan is emerging!

CLICK HERE to view a map of the Phase I Restoration planting and mowing regime.

Legend for the map above:
  • PZ1 - ground cover, upper canopy
  • PZ2 - ground cover, understory, upper canopy
  • PZ3 - riparian
  • PZ4 - ground cover
  • PZ5 - ground cover, understory
WPD has not yet generated plant lists for these zones, but they are on the way.

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