ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
About 15 volunteers-and several strategic pieces of equipment-completed the shoreline stabilization project in record time Nov. 10 at Marion Reservoir.
The entire project involved anchoring trees along 500 feet of highly erodible shoreline on a peninsula-like area off the southeast edge of Cottonwood Point.
About 100 feet of the project was completed in early spring with workers using 5-foot to 6-foot trees.
Thanks to the donation of equipment, the remaining 400 feet were completed Monday, according to Peggy Blackman, 319 Water Quality Grant coordinator.
“We started at about 9:30 a.m. and were done around 4 p.m. with hardly an hour for lunch,” said Blackman. “If we had not had the proper equipment, it would have taken us much longer than one day.”
Makovec Construction donated a tree shear and skid loader, and Marion County offered an excavator and an operator.
Other volunteers came from the city of Marion, Marion Chamber of Commerce, the Marion Lake Association and “several concerned citizens.”
Several other groups, including the Marion High School FFA and the City of Hillsboro, were going to contribute workers, too, but were unable to due to scheduling conflicts.
“Actually, it was better than I expected,” Blackman said of the turnout. “I was just thrilled with the number of volunteers.”
She said the project was a worthwhile one.
“This is going to help prevent the contamination of our reservoir with sedimentation coming in,” she said. “We know that from February, when we did the first 100 feet of shoreline with smaller trees, it took three days and the sediment it has collected is just amazing.”
This was the first shoreline project attempted at Marion Reservoir, Blackman added.
“Now that the Corps (of Engineers) has seen how quickly it can be done with the proper equipment, they’re looking at maybe doing other points on the reservoir, too.”
And the project was economical, she added.
“We had estimated it would run us around $5,000 in costs originally,” she said. “But with the volunteer labor, out of my grant funds I don’t think I even spent $200.”
She said the volunteers deserve all the credit.
“They are the ones who need the pat on the back,” Blackman said. “All I did was brew 60 cups of coffee and feed them lunch.”