Wednesday, February 13, 2019

West Marsh Water Conveyance: Project Update #15 (Near Completion/Demobilization)

Success -- the newly installed water conveyance infrastructure on the day our contractor pulled all equipment
from the job site (I hope to capture some drone footage of the structure very soon!)

Well, except for an ever-shrinking punch list of final to-do's, our single largest rehabilitation project to date is about in the books. While we will wait for the official ribbon cutting, we want to thank everyone who has been involved. It really has been, and continues to be, a great collaboration. And it will provide opportunity to do even more great things on this special corner of land and water.

We are really down to odds and ends now, and as of last week, our contractor decided most everything else needs to wait till spring -- when things finally dry out.

Bay ice heaving onto our shrinking "barrier island"after
multiple freeze-thaw cycles and a strong west wind
The construction team has jokingly dubbed the site "Stand-in Mush," the area has become so sloppy. Every time we think we've finally firmed up (even after a week of sub-zero temperatures), we find a way to hit 50+ degrees for a day or two, watch the snow melt, endure a half-inch or so of rain, and watch it get muddier.

Roy and I affectionately refer to this time period (February through April) as "the mud months." It's sometimes hard to keep morale up because everything takes longer than it should, and some things just can't happen at all (like final grading and grass seeding of the tops of dikes -- two of the final items on our punch list).

Especially with all that has happened (or not happened) in Washington since December, this particular stretch has truly been a season of waiting. Currently, the ripple effect from the government shutdown has impacted us in at least two significant ways: lawyers reviewing our easement process were furloughed (causing delays), and agency personnel reviewing permit applications for future projects were not working (keeping those projects on hold). That said there is never a shortage of work. After all, spring will be hear before we know it.

Last year's lotus bloom, drooped into a seemingly perpetual freeze-thaw-refreeze cycle; the warmth of the sun on its stem
and the residue from last season's vibrant display are a reminder that another growing season is not far off

The construction trailer was one of the last items to go

Blue skies still do happen (occasionally), as do large numbers of ducks and geese; we've been surprised to see the
numbers of gadwall around the marsh -- even after all that bitter cold a couple weeks back . . . tough birds