May 24, 2012 – LSU visit

Thursday, May 24

One more marshbird survey this morning, from 5:15am to 9:30, and I took Erik back to the landing so he could head home. LSU was there and Timmy with the big boat, the Goose, was already loaded with walkway construction and heading back to the dredge site. Since they did not need my boat for anything, I stopped to fuel up at Shell Morgan and headed back to meet Timmy. It was a bit windy and bumpy this morning, so I took the route through the terraces rather than cross the Bay.

The LSU boat and Les Cross’s boat soon arrived, and Sean Graham, John Cross and Matt began unloading all of the lumber and supplies at the dredge landing.
We took a short break and gathered on the boardwalk with Dr. Irv Mendelssohn to view the area and discuss the project.

Figure 19. Les Cross on the small dredge that he created.
Figure 19. Les Cross on the small dredge that he created.

Timmy and I left them working to talk with Les Cross on the small dredge. It is his company, Javeler Construction, Inc., that designed and created the dredge. We are hoping that he will help us solve the recurring problem caused by the overhead winch, and wanted to discuss other possible upgrades or even the next version.
We took him back to his boat, then left so that Timmy could bring the airboat back.
By the time we returned, the LSU group had installed a section of walkway leading off of the end of our boardwalk. It will double as support for the containment between Cell 3 and 2. When everyone finished eating lunch, Timmy took Dr. Mendelssohn and John Cross around to the south side of the finished cells, and Karen and Sean paddled over in the pirogue, then crossed the marsh and containment 5b to join them. 
They seemed very pleased and excited at the results of our dredge and fill. Sean did what I thought would be impossible – he actually crawled out onto the surface of the mud fill in Cell 5 and didn’t sink out of sight! His careful crawl only made minor indentations in the thick tiles of dried mud, but I grabbed a piece of plywood I’d been using as part of the bridge for him to stand more comfortably. He used a metal ruler to poke through the mud to the settling pan they had put in next to the white pvc pole to get a measurement, then took a mud core. It was fascinating to see the difference in the mud fill, which was grey clay, on top of the original pond surface, which was slightly brown with organic material. What was even more fascinating, was that he could crawl out on Cell 4 as well, which had only been finished for two weeks!  I still don’t think I’ll try that…

Figure 20. The first section of the LSU walkway Figure 21. Sean on Cell 5 taking measurements. extends from the end of our boardwalk.Figure 22. A core Sean took through the mud fill in Cell 5. The red arrow shows the break between the original pond bottom on the right and the new mud fill on the left.Figure 23. Sean crawling out on Cell 4 which had only been finished and drying for two weeks!Figure 24. The core taken out of Cell 4 showed more grey fill above the original pond bottom which is marked by a stick and by the red arrow.


Figure 25. Dr. Irv Mendelssohn looking over the dredge fill from Timmy's airboat.

 Les Cross, John and Matt left soon after that, and Sean and Irv wanted to come see the new camp going up next door. They had toured the construction and were ready to leave by the time Timmy made it back in the airboat. We retrieved the Goose next, and I left around 4 to head back to Baton Rouge. The Avocet was required the next day for a run down to the West Bay diversion near the mouth of the Mississippi River.

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