Long Swamp Phase 3 restoration trial – Week 2 update – great progress being made despite tricky site conditions…

A week ago we were all set; with a dry channel and a plan in place for moving sandbags from our filling station to the trial structure location. But a week is a long time in the life of a dynamic wetland system!

Looking up the channel towards the structure from our sandbag loading position on the bank, around a week ago.

Fast forward to this week, and after 58mm of rain in Nelson overnight on Monday night, we were confronted with a challenge…

The same view a week later!

After some quick thinking on Wednesday morning to realign our boards upslope (great suggestion Adam!), plus a few temporary sandbag ‘pillars’ to bridge the deepest part of the channel, we were able to get the wheelbarrows rolling again in time for the community sandbagging day on Thursday.

Whew… what a relief! Thankfully, unlike last year, when autumn rain also interfered with the first phase of the restoration trial, we already had the base of the structure firmly in place, so access was the only problem to be overcome.

And yesterday we overcame that barrier in style, with approximately 1500 sandbags filled, shifted and laid in place – what a great effort from all concerned! Here are some shots to show the progress made during the day…

The base of the third phase restoration trial structure – as we left it before Easter…

And the scene we confronted on Wednesday!

Progress after a bit more preparation work Wednesday.

A good early start on the Community Sandbagging Day Thursday – see this great progress being made by 10 am.

Working on reinforcing the far bank…

By lunch time, we have got complete coverage of the base near to standing water level, and are starting to have an impact on upstream levels.

Time to call it a day… upstream levels have risen by 20cm, and the structure is really taking shape!

A very big thank you to our first batch of 22 community volunteers, who have got us off to a great start!

But we are not done yet, and things will only continue to get more interesting from here as we work towards our target elevation for the trial structure.

If you are keen to be involved and to see for yourself what this is all about, the next community sandbagging day is set for Sunday (12th April 2015). To book your place, please get in touch with NGT’s Jess Bourchier on 0438 671 356 or by email.

Now we are getting somewhere! By the end of the first community sandbagging day, the structure is now just starting to impact upstream levels.

Mark Bachmann