|Mom and I -- surrounded by a few dozen of my immediate family -- all of whom are joining me and Standing for Something Great |
(photo taken in early August back at the family farm at our 19th annual Kraus Camp Out reunion weekend)
We are now inside ten days before our kids are back in school (which will be a full week, if not two, later than most have returned). Per usual, summer has absolutely flown by. Long days and late sunsets, lots of activity and some extended travel, and lots of writing -- for various grants and permits -- have largely put me on an unofficial . . . and unintended . . . summer "vacation" from both the blog and social media. It's high time I provide some updates because there has been PLENTY going on . . .
|One of a variety of wetland habitats sprinkled |
into the often arid Colorado Rockies
in summer (photo taken just outside
Silverton, CO in July)
With just over four months remaining in 2019, we are on-track to complete as many as SEVEN major projects at Standing Rush this calendar year:
(1) completion of what we call "Structure 1" -- the primary water conveyance structure to the West Marsh;
(2) re-armoring of over 1,000 linear feet of our bayfront ("exterior") dike;
(3) rehabilitation of 3,000 linear feet of earthen berm that makes up our southern boundary on the West Marsh;
(4) rehabilitation of more than 1,000 linear feet of interior berm to augment #2 above (awaiting final permitting approval -- haven't written about this one yet);
(5) rehabilitation of 2,000 linear feet of interior berm to augment restoration activities begun in 2016 (awaiting final permitting approval -- again, haven't written about this one yet);
(6) completion of what we call "Structure 2" -- the second phase of #1 above that will further enhance connections between the West Marsh & Sandusky Bay (slated for construction Sept-Nov); and,
(7) permanent legal protection of an additional ~200 acres of coastal marsh habitat through the USDA's Wetland Reserve Easement (WRE) program.
|News just came yesterday that ~200 acres |
of our West Marsh have been officially
selected for funding through the USDA's
Wetland Reserve Easement (WRE) Program
As with so much of the work that we do, success is predicated on persistence, collaboration, patience, talented subcontractors, good communication, and good fortune . . . or some would say, dumb luck. Weather is a constant wild card -- as is persistent high water (a reality that is apt to last well into 2020). Permitting is often largely out of our control -- at least after the application is submitted. And there is a chronology that often creates a chain reaction of cascading consequences -- intended or unintended -- as each project evolves.
But we feel generally fortunate as to where things currently stand. We continue to feel very much supported by federal, state and local partners. People are paying attention to our efforts (which isn't critical, but it's certainly helpful if they can help in the collaboration). [In fact, at one point last month, I was compelled to book a flight home from Colorado because Governor DeWine was planning to pay us a visit. That outing had to be postponed because of a stubborn budget process, but we did get the opportunity to show a US EPA representative around the property.)
|TPS instructor Laura Kubiak took Standing Rush's|
message with her all the way to Alaska this summer
Just yesterday, we received official acceptance into another round of WRE funding (see #7 above). This means we were one of perhaps a dozen properties from the entire state of Ohio that was selected for enrollment in the USDA's perpetual easement program. While we haven't yet "closed" on the easement (think real estate transaction), things seem to be aligning favorably such that we could in a matter of months. To see how important this is in the fulfillment of our broader mission, see the announcement of our first easement, which closed this past May. There is a ton of paperwork involved in this process, but the long-term benefit to the property far outweighs the headache, at least from our perspective.
Speaking of paperwork, much of my time recently has been spent developing a comprehensive plan that is intended to both guide and prioritize future management improvement projects and attract additional funding and technical partnership opportunities. This will remain a primary focus for me for the better part of the next couple months. It will mean a lot less time in the field, but I promise I'll keep on Roy to take lots of pictures. And as the sun sets earlier and we get back into an autumn routine, I promise to be posting more!
|Three nieces "spreading the gospel" at Machu Picchu, Peru (photo by Ellen Dziubek Photography) --|
remember to submit your photos in Standing Rush gear for a chance to win a tour of the marsh --
shop "marsh merch" here