Crow’s Nest storm damage update

November 1, 2011

We’ve worked another day on fallen branches along the roads, and I’ve finally made it to the library to make use of their electricity and wifi connection to provide this update.

All of the roads are basically cleared. We have a few snags to follow up on but the branches that fell on the roads have now been chipped; trees that were severely damaged have been cut down and removed. Thanks to building stewardship staff (Steve, Scott and Luke) for running the chipper while I ran the chainsaw. (Admittedly, without power, they can’t do much building restoration. There’s a good reason all of our field staff has received chainsaw training and I really appreciate their willingness to help.) Thanks also to Sean who chipped branches and started clearing trails, and to Roger who came for an afternoon of chipping.

I’d also like to thank the folks from Toledo Edison who have traveled from Ohio to work on electric lines. Not only are they working to restore power but they are making our cleanup easier by dealing with snags and hangers where they occur near wires. Once these branches are on the ground we can more easily deal with them.

Tomorrow we will do more cutting and clearing of trails and then begin on the landscape trees that are broken in the yards at the preserve… so maybe a couple more days of work ought to get us back to where we were before the storm, minus a few trees.

We also have been loaned a couple more generators so we don’t need to switch them between houses.

Some observations: it was the trees that still had leaves that were hit the hardest. So the oaks, dogwoods and some beeches were hit worst. We didn’t lose many large trees, mainly what we are dealing with are a huge volume of tops broken out of otherwise healthy trees, and some younger trees that were bent over so far that their trunks were damaged. Our hazard tree management program—which monitors and aggressively removes trees with defects near roads—probably saved us some cleanup, but most of the trees damaged were not among those with defects we were monitoring.

Landscape trees that had been pruned fared a bit better, an argument for careful pruning. And trees with invasive vines on them fared worse, an argument for invasive plant management in natural areas.

The preserve trails are still closed but we hope to be open by this weekend. Our kids’ nature programs: WebWanderers, WebWalkers, and WebWigglers will go on this week!