Sunday, December 13, 2020

Are Water Bars open during Covid?

Trail volunteers met on a foggy December morning to fix drainage problems on the Turkey Trot Trail.  A new water bar was constructed to control groundwater that was impacting the Recreation Path downhill.

The forecast for Saturday had been for rain, but it looked like we could squeeze in the work party during the morning.  The discussion about the weather let Trails Chairman Bill Dyer to quip "Given Covid, are water bar(s) still open?"  We assumed that the Governor's Covid restrictions did not apply to trails events and proceeded with face masks and foggy glasses to start digging.  Luckily, nobody hit their own foot, or their teammates foot, with a hoe, pick or shovel.

The groundwater had been breaking out on the Turkey Trot Trail, washing down the trail tread, causing erosion, and ponding on the Recreation Path below.  Earlier in the week Mark and Luis had cleaned out a relief drain and culvert along the RecPath controlling some of the runoff, but more was needed.

There were two other water bars on the slope along the Turkey Trot, but these were higher on the slope and ground water breaking out of the hillside.

The water bar is a shallow angled ditch that directs runoff off the trail before it can reach velocities that cause erosion.  Mark and Gino are grading the gentle berm on the downhill side of the water bar.  The trick is to construct something deep enough to control runoff, but shallow and smooth enough that it's good for walking or biking.  The water bar has to carry the runoff well beyond the limits of the trail.  There were a lot of tree roots to dig through on this one.

Here's the completed water bar with Betsey in the background.  A lot of people were out in the moody weather trying to get in a walk before the rain hit.  Bob & Mark were chatting with a lot of friends and neighbors as they passed the work party.

We also cleaned out two existing water bars, placed gravel in washed out spots, and fixed some of the split rail fence on the top of the dam along the RecPath.  More needs to be done but at that point the fog was turning to rain and we decided to pack it in.

Thanks to everyone who attended: Mary, Betsey, Val, Gino, Bill, Bob, Mark, and Terry.  It was muddy and foggy, but we hopefully fixed the drainage problem.  Time will tell.

The trails were in good shape and getting a lot of use on Sunday with the sunny 60 degree weather.  Everyone was out on the trails judging from the tracks in the new water bar.

So we can safely say that the water bars in Shelton are open during Covid, and Governor Lamont can check them out next time he's in town.

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