Friday, August 15, 2008

Update - Shiawassee River Conditions

A review by Doug Lanyk from HeadWatersTrails August 14th, 2008

My how things change.
Jimmy and I Took a trip yesterday evening from
Holly's Waterworks Park to Bush Park in Fenton.
My expectations were slightly low water and an easy paddle.
So much for my powers of precognition.
The water level at waterworks park was about 3 inches higher
than I would have thought. The recent rainfall that missed
my house must have hit somewhere else in the headwaters region.

It was a good start to the journey. The river was quiet
and the wildlife was repeatedly surprised by us quietly
gliding down the river. Numerous deer, fish, turtles,
and heron were motivated to seek further cover upon
being observed at close quarters.
There is a tree partially blocking the river just after
the 3 tubes. You can still paddle around on the the shallow side.
It's small and will be easily removed, but beware if you try it,
it's covered in poison ivy. The quiet paddle was just about
perfect until another downed tree just before Fish Lake Rd.
Last week Jimmy had to portage the tree. Last night we had enough
water to bump over it. Once again it was smooth sailing.

The next item of note was the water level in Haddon pond.
It was noticeably lower. The beaver created marsh following the
pond had lot's of fresh bank showing and a bit of challenging
paddling to go around trees we are accustomed to going over.
The reason for the low water level was soon apparent.
The big beaver dam is gone! I don't know if it had help
but the center of the old dam is now completely washed out.
No drop whatsoever. This has aesthetic ramifications.
The old dump that comes up to the river at that point
is now showing a whole lot of garbage.

Some new work near Scarbury's Ford was noticed too.
The ford itself had low water and we had to bump our way across.
The last beaver dam before the Fenton Millpond has been beefed up.
It's now bigger and badder than ever before.
It's about a one foot drop that we skated over.
The millpond itself was a pungent mess. It is severely grown over.
It was a bit of work to get the boats across.
After dumping our first load of picked up garbage off at
Strom park we were rewarded for our work by finding a
blue grass band playing at the bandstand in Downtown Dibbleville.

As we portaged the dam, lot's of curious people questioned us
about paddling on the river. It was a good opportunity for
educating more people about our efforts. Below the dam
we launched Jimmy in his canoe just before I did a seal launch
off of the rocks. It was fun when the the crowd listening to the
band brokeout in applause and cheers in the middle of a song.

From the Dam to Bush Park was a bigger challenge than the millpond.
The water had disapeared. It was very shallow for most of the rest
of the trip. Where we did the cleanup a couple of weeks ago it was
hard to tell we had been there.
The trees that were totally submerged when we cut those above are
now completely above the water. More garbage has been exposed too.
By this time it was getting dark and we were glad that my truck was
right there. A longer trip would have been less than fun.

Get outside.
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