Eerie Bird on the Eerie Erie Canal

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A fairly mild, but foggy morning made the Oxbow scenery look rather different today. It’s always amazing how much more sound travels when the air is saturated like this.  The trains whistles were especially loud.

Our resident Blue Heron decided he wasn’t flying due to bad weather, and I was able to get up fairly closely to take these photos.

Note how he’s standing on one leg. Magnificent creature!

 

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A path to Heaven?

 

Hmm!   That’s probably going a bit too far, but these days the Oxbow Trail is looking pretty sharp!

Our new trail has just been repaved with gravel, thanks to the efforts of the Canal Corporation  contributing the gravel.  They have pulled all the stops out to make The Oxbow somewhere everyone can appreciate.

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The ‘before’ photo!

As the rainwater is running from Erie Crescent, I noticed it does linger a little at the beginning of the trail, but with a little more work along the edge, I’m pretty sure we can divert it to run directly into the canal.  Let’s call it ‘fine tuning’!

Our gofundme account paid for the spreading and leveling to be done, so if you like what you see and would like to contribute, here’s the web page  for that.

https://www.gofundme.com/d2mfgs-ecna

sign adopt-a-trail

 

 

 

Raining Cats & Dogs? No! It rained stones!

As if by magic, stones by the truck load appeared along The Oxbow Trail yesterday. They rained down as they were slowly spread along the trail, filling in many low spots.

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Our trail at the Erie Crescent end has been a quagmire for many a year, and getting worse with every rain storm.

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A second load is imminent and will be delivered shortly, and that will fill in this awful mess. The state of this trail has deterred many a walker from visiting in bad weather. In the winter, of course, it became a skating rink and was extremely dangerous.

What a difference a day makes. The old Canal Corporation would never do anything for it’s customers (they were broke), but now the New York Power Authority has the reigns and the money, many things are happening as they try really hard to bring the canal system into the 21st Century.

Earlier in the year, the NYPA spent BIG BUCKS to shore up the embankment dam opposite the Oxbow.  We’re still awaiting the actual costing of placing 45 feet long steel sheets into over 200 feet of embankment, but it’s got to be over a half a million dollars.

Currently, they are planting privacy trees along the toe sections in the Brockport area where residents have been exposed because dangerous vegetation has been removed from the embankment. Thorough inspections are now being made to ensure these dams are safe. Hopefully, things will start moving along our Fairport section soon!

Our little section is really small potatoes in the great scheme of the revitalization of the canal. I’m delighted that Messrs Brian Stratton and John Callaghan have taken a personal interest in our tiny corner and have helped in such a big way to make The Oxbow a pleasurable experience for all us locals. Here’s what Mr Stratton has to say

And!   There’s more!  Watch The Oxbow Blog for more exciting news soon!

SECOND DELIVERY OF STONES TODAY       9 27 2018

Volunteers needed – with rakes!

 

 

 

 

 

Our new park!

Or is it a trail?  Maybe it’s both!

The Oxbow is now ready to see!  All the Ragweed and brush has been cut down, and has been picked up, mulched and disposed of.

Pittsford Canal Corporation Crews were there this morning and did a wonderful job, even taking scrap metal, tires and junk we left in piles along the trail.

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The Parks & Trails Department are pulling out all the stops to make The Oxbow a place for everyone to enjoy.

The views are wonderful, as you’ll see from these photos.

 

 

A very special thanks to all our volunteers who all worked so hard.

The Gavelis family, the Ruder Family, the Sennetts, the Kucmerowskis (who made several trips from Brockport), the Gialas, Bill Forster, Bill Schneider, Curtis Broadbent, and Barkley (best dog in the world)

An extra special thanks to the Parks and Trails Dept of the Canal Corporation who made all this come true!

So what’s next? Seeing as winter is just around the corner, we’ll just be trimming the odd patch here and there, maybe some ragweed along the woodland side of the trail.  There’a little more weed whacking to do at  the entrance from Erie Crescent.  Then we’ll be planning where all the flowers will go next spring!

If you’d like to support us and help defray some costs, please see our GOFUNDME page, where a few dollars will always be welcome for seed and equipment etc.

 

 

Willow Whittler!

Bill Forster has taken on a huge willow tree that toppled last winter. It blocked off a large patch of shoreline, so it has been almost impossible to clear Ragweed and mow around.Bill Forster

Bill is methodically working through the tree and at last, we can see the shore.

Good work Sir!    Many thanks.

Phragmites removal.

A patch of Phragmites Common Reed Grass under some willow trees has been mowed down because it is considered an invasive species by NYDEC

Wikipedia states –

Phragmites out-competes native vegetation and lowers the local plant biodiversity. Phragmites forms dense thickets of vegetation that is unsuitable habitat for native fauna. Phragmites displaces native plants species such as wild rice, cattails, and native wetland orchids.[6] Phragmites has a high above ground biomass that blocks light to other plants allowing areas to turn into Phragmites monoculture very quickly. Decomposing Phragmites increases the rate of marsh accretion more rapidly than would occur with native marsh vegetation.[7]  Phragmites out-competes native vegetation and lowers the local plant biodiversity. Phragmites forms dense thickets of vegetation that is unsuitable habitat for native fauna.

New York City Parks say this about Phragmites –  The plants are capable of living anywhere that stagnant or slow moving fresh water is found, including vacant lots, ditches, and along roadways, as well as in marshes and wetlands. Phragmites will take over any area where the soil has been disturbed. This aggressive reed out-competes any pre-existing vegetation, leading to thick, choking stands that can grow to 15 feet in height.

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Fortunately, the Oxbow Trail only has one patch of the plant, but growing among a stand of willow saplings. In this photo cutting them down with a weed trimmer has begun.

To enable the area to be mowed in the future, some smaller saplings have been thinned out to accommodate the mower.

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Here’s the Willow stand before Ragweed and Phragmites removal

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The ‘after’ photo. All reed grass gone.

A New Landscape!

The second weekend’s work of Adopt a Trail volunteers has made a huge impression on the Oxbow landscape.

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Walkers will see huge piles of brush and branches, as the shoreline is cleared to expose the view. After over a year of neglect, the overgrown trail is beginning to show spectacular views.

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There was a tremendous infestation of Oriental Bittersweet vines. Locust saplings have sent out suckers in all directions, and brambles (nasty prickly plants that yield little fruit) are everywhere. All of these have been removed and with regular maintenance, they will be kept at bay.

Doug and Sandy Kucmerowski traveled in from Brockport to help us again. They own about 400 feet of canal shoreline property, living under a canal embankment, and have an ongoing leak, so are passionate about seeing the canal being brought up to standard. They cleared the area by the stream of brush and ragweed, and moved the huge plastic tubes that once were the bridge.IMG_0203.jpg

Here’s Doug with his weed whacker and hedge trimmer attachment. This thing kicks butt!

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Who’s this cool dude? None other than our Eagle Scout.

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Volunteer’s kids kids paid a visit, spent some time on my pontoon, raided the donut box and wiped out the packets of Goldfish morsels. But they left this lovely piece of abstract art. Something to do with cars, methinks.

Great day, except Barkley had a wasp sting him.  We gave him extra treats, a few cuddles, then a boat ride, and he’s fine now. But he really doesn’t like those things. I don’t blame him either.

Sarah sent me this lovely photo of a sunset across the Oxbow Lake, taken the same day the shoreline was cleared.

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