Purpose: To use more natural and environmentally friendly ways to manage invasive vegetation species (such as phragmites in the Fall River basin) without the use of herbicides or heavy machinery. The use of heavy machinery is not only expensive but also alters the ecosystem in a more destructive way and unintentionally encourages new growth which defeats the City's and our goals. This proposal will address a large perennial reed grass called phragmites. Phragmites is known to aggressively overtake a waterway and, unlike native wetland grasses such as cat tails, do not perform ecological or beneficial functions to the river. After the invasive phragmites stands are under manageable control, we can apply similar methods to thin the cattails to open up the access to and view of the river from the Freedom Trail.
Location: For this project we are proposing work done on the section of Fall River between Jennings to University Ave. Specifically, the west side of the river, directly in front of the American Legion Building.
Volunteers: We currently have 10 committed people, all of whom are 30 to 60 yr old gardeners, farmers and community members with the necessary experience and tools to do the job. We have the commitment of an additional 8-10 people on a part time basis for this project.
Safety: Safety is our utmost priority, for both the river and the people dedicated to working on the project. Eric Boyd & Doc Holiday are our safety coordinators and will be on site at all times. They will be checking equipment, training the volunteers on the appropriate techniques, identifying the plants and monitoring the progress when we are on site. Appropriate clothing required by all volunteers includes sturdy boots, long pants, gloves, hats, water and sunscreen.
Tools & Materials: The project volunteers will use sharpened spades, shovels & rakes of various sizes, clippers, and hand snips. Tarps and ropes will be used to contain the removed vegetation and raise the debris up the bank. All hand tools will be removed from the worksite at the end of the day. Tarps may remain to cover the vegetation as well as to secure/store the removed vegetation away from the river. Safety coordinators will coordinate with Public works staff to ensure the vegetation is removed in a timely manner. Removal of unwanted plants: We will coordinate work days and times with the City of Hot Springs staff and request they provide a truck on site that can haul away plant cuttings and debris. These should be burned so they do not spread elsewhere. If the city cannot have a truck on site parked by the Legion building, we will use tarps to wrap and contain the plants until City Staff can remove them.
Liability: Per instructions of the Finance Director, Misty Summers-Walton, who has verified with the City of Hot Springs Insurance agent and legal, each volunteer will sign a Volunteer waiver. The safety coordinator will read the liability waiver and have all volunteers sign the waiver before work begins.
Removal Method: We have reviewed alternate methods of managing phragmites including spading, clipping and removal of old and new growth, underwater churning and mechanical bull dozing. We have learned through reading available reports that the spading method is often considered most effective in combating phragmites stands located in areas of sand and silt substrates. Spading and subsequent removal of vegetative material is the primary technique we will use, and during the process we will evaluate if we need to augment with other techniques. We will return in about 30 days to inspect and continue this method removing any remaining vegetation. Time required: We will be breaking the river clean up into 3 phases. Our first phase will take approximately 15-30 person hours to remove the bulk of the phragmites. This will be a 1-3 day job and we expect to schedule this in 4-hour work shift intervals. The second phase will be similar, but our focus will be looking for phragmite growth we may have missed and remove any new shoots springing up after our first phase efforts. The third phase will be to review the results of phase 1 & 2 and respond accordingly with further action if needed. Proposed Tentative Schedule: Phase 1 starts on 7/11: 7:00am meet for safety review and equipment check, 8:00am to start removal and finish by noon. The safety coordinator will check the equipment and make sure the reproductive structures of the removed plants are secured using tarps or deposited into the City truck. Phase 2 is on the same schedule and planned for 8/8. Phase 3 is planned for 9/6 and will include final removal of plant debris and project area cleanup along with initial evaluation of the process.
Disposal: We request a City truck to be on site during our work or scheduled to later pick up the plants. All plant debris should be burned by the City to prevent accidental return into the environment.
Conclusion: We hope our trial project will give the opportunity to evaluate the success of our methods and in future years we will have less work to control and maintain the native vegetation while limiting invasive species. Ultimately this helps beautify our City and may save the City money in the long run by reducing the need for using heavy machinery in our beautiful river.
We are seeking more individuals to help with Phragmites removal by way of a proven Spading method to demonstrate a more humane alternative to plant removal.
Our first work day will be sometime in early July, followed by two more work days a month a part.
There will be many jobs for all levels and abilities that will be very helpful. Please fill out the "Contact Us" button with your contact information and someone will get back to you soon.
Seeking Volunteers to help conduct an ecological study of Fall River. Volunteers will work with Hot Springs High School Biology class in the Fall of 2021 to conduct the study.
Apply your unique skills and interests to identifying birds, plants, aquatic life, etc.
If you are interested in assisting with the study or the Development of the Fall River Interpretive Trail, please contact Rajni Lerman @ 303-564-0787 for more information.