Thursday, March 04, 2010

Millard Canyon Restoration Project Update

From Mike Hickman on Lower Canyon Crest:

Hi All,

Some of you may have wondered what has become of the MCCP in recent months. Well, there is the weather, and then there is the weather (there have been a few other issues as well, but I won't go into them here). And now, back to the weather: as some of you may know, the rains during the past few months have caused massive water flow in Lower Millard.

Twice last month the bridge at the hairpin turn has washed out causing some real headaches for the Public Works Dept. and residents of the meadows. At times Millard Creek has crested between 6 and 14 feet above normal (depending on the width of the canyon channel). This condition has drastically altered the character of the streambed and in some sections it has changed the course of the stream.

Virtually all the areas we had performed volunteer work removing invasives have been washed away, as were the areas we had intended to work in the future. Most of the soil has washed away, leaving bedrock and gravel beds which have not seen the light of day for many, many years. Several trees along the stream were also washed away making the streambed area much wider. All of the thick infestations of Himalayan Blackberry, Cape Ivy, and Eupatorium are gone. There are a few tenacious blackberry canes still clinging to some of the banks upstream and some healthy Cape Ivy patches on some of the upslopes of the canyon, but essentially, much of the restoration work that would have taken years of volunteer days to accomplish has been done by Mother Nature doing a bit of her own "housecleaning".

It appears to me that a much healthier "environmental situation" now exists which should greatly benefit the many aquatic species that inhabit the stream, as well as the various faunal and avian species that depend on the area.

In the 15 years I have lived here and hiked the canyon I have never seen such remarkable change. This makes one reflect on all our meager, well intentioned efforts at "restoration".

Anyway, I thought some of you might like to know about the current situation. We plan on organizing an informational hike into the canyon within the next few weeks for those who would like to view these changes. I will keep you posted regarding the date and time.


Mike Hickman

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