Dredge (and Rainey) Report Cell 4 Contained

Tuesday, November 8

Figure 1. A diagram of the study cell arrangement and containment designations.

The goal for today was to get Cell 4 contained. The reed containment at 4c was in bad shape and the bundled reeds were proving insufficient for the depth of the water at the interface with the larger pond. We also wanted to finish off the cell with the addition of a plywood wall for 4b (see figure 1). With just the two of us, plywood walls are quicker and easier to construct, even though I much prefer the reed bundles. We are planning to do the remaining containment with plywood walls containing reed breaks for water flow control, hose avenues and canoe crossings.

Karen met Timmy at Stine’s in Abbeville for 8 am to pick up dredge parts and lumber for containment. While Timmy was loading the lumber, Karen went to Voorhies to pick up replacement winch cable. We met up again at Lowes for shelving and other items for the big building. I followed Timmy down to the Goose at the boatshed in Intracoastal City and help load everything from the truck to the boat. There are no roads to or at the Rainey Wildlife Refuge, so a 20-minuter boat ride got us to the camp around 10:30am.

Figure 2. The flat was loaded with the containment lumber.

We unloaded the lumber at the big workshop building, ripped 6 sheets of the plywood, and pulled the flat around to load it with the plywood, 2x4s and other gear. I took Timmy down the canal to Christian Marsh where the airboat was parked to drop him off. I cruised back up the canal to the dredge site and got out of the way for him to get the airboat up on the levee. We transferred the lumber to the airboat while trying to fan the mosquitoes out of the way so we could see.

Figure 3. Timmy brought the airboat to make containment installation easier.

Figure 3. Timmy brought the airboat to make containment installation easier.

Figure 4. Timmy pounding a 2x4 support in for the plywood wall backing containment 4c.

Timmy ran the airboat around the study site to the south side of Cell 4 and over to containment 4c. This appears to be the deepest part of the study cells, is an outer containment, and the bundled reeds just couldn’t be piled dense enough to stay down and keep the water and sediment from passing through. The water level in the pond was at marsh level (ML) so the substrate of Cell 4 was covered with water.

2x4s were pushed into the sediment and then pounded in with a maul to make sure it was sturdy. The 2 ft wide plywood was pushed into the sediment and into the marsh on each side, and secured to the 2x4s by screws and nails.

Karen had to jump off the airboat into the marsh grass for the last section and managed to break the maul while pounding the last plywood and 2×4 into the substrate. We took a break to run back to camp for more 2x4s and a late lunch.

Since 4b is an interior containment, we cut the 2x4s in half. Timmy skillfully maneuvered the airboat into Cell 4 around the marker poles. We tied a string between the two poles that LSU had placed to mark ends of containment. Working from the east end, we pushed 2x4s into the substrate along the string and attached the plywood to create the containment. I had to stand on the pieces to push them in and more than once thought I was going to fall in! I was very thankful we had an airboat to work from and I wasn’t trying to do it all by canoe in the 15 mph winds. As it was, with each piece of plywood I picked up the wind tried to knock me over. We left a gap at the west end for the overflow to escape into Cells 1 & 2 until we see how the flow acts with the new barriers.

Figure 5. Timmy pushing plywood into the mud along the string.

Figure 6. View to the northwest of the completed plywood containment 4b and reed containment 4a (at right) with Cell 4 to the left and containment 1 in the background.

Figure 7. View of the newly contained Cell 4 from the dock.

Figure 7. View of the newly contained Cell 4 from the dock.

Figure 8. View of the study area from the levee. Containment 1 is to the far right. The dredge hose is on top of the boardwalk.

A flock of willets circled about as we were packing to leave, settling and lifting again over our Cell 5 mudflat. About the third time they came by we noticed there was a different bird among them. It was a bit heavier looking, all brown with a much longer bill.  I took a number of pictures and on later inspection it turned out to be a marbled godwit!

Figure 9. A flock of willets contained an unusual member, indicated above by the yellow arrow.

Figure 10. The inconsistent bird turned out to be a marbled godwit.

We finished up around 3:30, and with the time change, it was too late to start up the dredge. We were also pretty worn out from fighting the wind and man-handling the containment, so we headed back to camp.

With the little bit of energy we had left, we went out to the workshop/storage building and put together the shelf units. Timmy happily started arranging things onto them. He already had his mower parked inside, and once he fixes the leak in the ATV, it would go inside as well.

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