JMU Arboretum Stream Project Update

HMNs gather for instructions on September 22 at the arboretum.

HMNs gather for instructions on September 22 at the arboretum.

We are fortunate to be involved in the stream restoration/storm water management project at the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum at JMU.  Over 20 Headwaters Master Naturalists plus some other volunteers from the community and Eastern Mennonite University planted over 200 shrubs and trees over two days, September 22 and September 24.

Though the ground and soils were often difficult to dig, volunteers worked in teams of two and three to shovel and scoop until the holes were big enough to accommodate the potted plants. At the same time, contractors planted sedge plugs along the newly restored stream banks.

Native varieties of plants were used when possible and included elderberry, river birch, winterberry, azalea, dogwood, oak, rhododendron, hazelnut, redbud, and spicebush.

The project combines two important needs for the Arboretum and James Madison University: restoring the stream and managing storm water.  By restoring the stream and adding wetland cells to the flat areas along the stream banks where water can slow down and drop sediment, JMU meets storm water runoff and requirements set forth by state and federal regulations. The project is funded by JMU and several grants some of which require volunteers to provide support for the project.

Restoring the upper part of the stream  from the “Sycamore Flats”  area to the bridge at the east end of the pond, is phase one of the project.  Restoration and improvements to the pond and down stream from the pond will continue in the coming months and years.

Arboretum stream on October 2, three days after flooding.

Arboretum stream on October 2, three days after flooding.

Post-Flooding Update

The September 29th rain event significantly impacted the upper stream restoration project and flooded the woods, valley and pond area. By some records, the Arboretum and surrounding areas received over three inches of rain, the majority of which fell in about an hour and a half during the late afternoon from 3:30 – 5 pm. While many of the sedge plugs remained in place, many of the shrubs and trees did not have enough time to root into the heavy clay and rock ground where we planted them and washed away with the flood water. Since then, some have been recovered and are now waiting to be replanted.

Work Day: Friday, October 23

We will continue our support of this project from 8:30-12:30 on October 23rd. Currently the work involves planting bare root and tubeling trees and shrubs so there will be less digging and more planting.  The day might also include replanting any remaining trees and shrubs salvaged from the flood event.  Please sign up on the Event Calendar of the VMN-VMS website.

– Chip Brown, Cohort II, October 3, 2015