This photo shows the Wetlands in 2007.
One year ago, in August of 2011, the Wetlands area was totally inaccessible due to flooding!
The above view was not of the Wetlands, but upstream, adjacent to the Ameristar Casino. The Wetlands area, at the time, was five feet deep in water!
As I reported last December in THIS posting, as the water receded, considerable damage to the Wetlands area was evident.
The Gifford Memorial Boardwalk, one of two equal-access trails in the Forest, was badly damaged, buckled and off its footing in many places. It kind of amazes me that a fallen tree in the photo above ended up UNDER the Boardwalk as the water receded!
I'm very happy to report that as of August of 2012, one year after the peak of the flooding, repairs to the Boardwalk appear to be mostly complete.
Kudos to the repair crew, which I'm told consisted of both Forest staff and volunteers! The Gifford Boardwalk once again provides an easy path between the parking area and the Great Marsh.
It's kind of difficult to see in these photos, but the newer replacement planks in the Boardwalk are obvious.
It seems that it's one extreme or the other. Last year the Wetlands were indeed wet, totally submerged.
This year, however, following an unusually dry early summer, we're starting to see dry spots, particularly in the underbrush.
The stream (I assume the one for which Stream Trail is named) is unusually low this year.
Many of the standing trees show bark damage between ground level and the height of last year's water. I am not an arborist (IANAA) :) so I don't know if wounds such as the above will be recoverable or fatal. The high water mark is still very obvious in many place throughout the Wetlands.
There are many, many fallen trees! The base of the one shown above used to grow from what is now the hole about 1/3 of the way into the photo from the left.
The philosophy of the Fontenelle Nature Association is to let nature take its course and intervene only when it's necessary to keep the area safe and accessible.In the case shown above, a large fallen tree (cottonwood?) was bisected in order to allow passage along the trail.
The signage, much of which was badly damaged by the flood last year, has also been repaired.
The original posting on Fontenelle Forest appears HERE