Wednesday, January 18, 2012

January Rain

This could pass as a typical January photo of Blue Jay Barrens if that was snow obscuring the view instead of rain.  Thunderstorms and 60 degree temperatures are not the norm for this area in the middle of January.  A quick moving storm front produced about an inch and a half of rain, most of which fell within an hour.  That certainly erased all traces of the snow storm from a few days ago.

Here is why I mow wetter areas first.  Once the spring rains begin, the ground is just too soft to mow without causing damage.  In normal years, the spring rains tend to arrive in months like March or April that are more traditionally identified with spring.

The upland water was moving away fast, so I splashed my way down to the creek to see what flooding was occurring.  This certainly isn’t the gentle flow I was admiring a few days ago.

If obstacles won’t move, the water goes around.  This curve will be a little bit wider by the time the water subsides.

The walking trail crosses the creek here because it’s usually just one long step to get across the water.  This definitely isn’t a good time to be crossing.

This bridge is the least susceptible to being moved by flood water.  There’s still a bit of clearance underneath, but the water appears to be striving to reach up as it passes beneath the bridge supports.  From here it looks like there are two creeks converging above the bridge.

The actual creek channel is in the background of the photo.  The curved section can’t handle the water fast enough and the excess has left the channel to travel overland.

The next bridge upstream is in a more precarious position.  It won’t take too much more water to change the structure from a bridge to a raft.  A large portion of the watershed for this creek is located upstream of Blue Jay Barrens.  Differing land uses allow more soil erosion to cloud the water with sediment.  Even so, this water is cleaner than the average stream of comparable size and the almost sediment free water from the Blue Jay Barrens tributaries improves the quality even more.

The bare soil areas that partially define the barrens look like they would be easily eroded, but the runoff water they produce is clear.  A healthy biotic crust of algae, lichens and mosses combines with a well defined soil structure and a pebbly surface to create an erosion resistant landscape.

The result is clean water leaving the barrens.  But, the integrity of the barrens soils is easily disrupted through disturbance.  This is why I have issues with the deer and turkey that trample and scratch the soil surface.  Damage caused by these animals can easily result in an active erosion situation that could be difficult to correct.  Management is just a matter of watching and reacting properly to changes.


  1. Uih, hope you get back to normal weather and the deer stay out of here!

  2. Hi Nicole. I imagine the weather and the deer will both just do what they do.