What a great start to the New Year - nineteen volunteers came to Garber on a beautiful Saturday in January to learn bioengineering techniques for erosion control in a workshop conducted by Lech Naumovich, Golden Hour Restoration Institute. The day began with Lech talking and demonstrating hillside erosion techniques – in particular, the use of fascines (living branches bound together in long bundles) and spilings (using branches to create a retaining wall), both techniques used to protect a slope from erosion. Then the real fun began – we set about building a fascine and spilling and installing both on our eroded slope.
We divided ourselves into several groups – some went to collect live branches, others cut and prepared the branches and wove them into a long bundle. then carried the long sausage shaped (now called a fascine) to the crew who had been working to prepare the slope. At the same time still others were working on making a spiling (retaining wall). After the stakes were driven into the ground it was time for weaving branches through the stakes to make a retaining wall. One volunteer yelled out, “I’m a weaver!” and proceeded to direct the weaving crew. The result - two structures built out of live materials, gathered onsite, and designed to hold and slowly release water. Ideally, the cut branches of the fascines should grow producing roots and top growth, but in this year in which Gov. Brown just declared a drought emergency we are hoping that at least a few of our willow branches will sprout.
View and Download Lech’s Hand-out explaining the bioengineering techniques we used in Garber, complete with References for those who wish to explore more. It is important to note that this project is being implemented in an area that will not require permits. Creating such structures in an active stream or around a wetland would require consultation, plans, and possibly permits.
We were all excited to have the opportunity to learn these erosion control techniques and were looking forward to returning in February to learn to use passive restoration planting techniques to further stabilize the slope. Unfortunately, because of the severe drought conditions we have cancelled the February workshop. Stay tuned for some exciting workshops led by Lech later this Spring and Summer. Looking further into the future - we hope to again offer the Erosion Control Workshop series next year.
Special thanks to Claremont Canyon Conservancy for their generous funding of our Winter Workshop Series, and the City of Oakland for their support for our volunteer work in Garber Park.
Please join us for our February Volunteer Workdays: Tuesday, Feb. 4 and Saturday, Feb 15, 10AM-Noon. Meet at the Evergreen Lane Entrance. We will weed our restoration sites and perform trail maintenance.