Thursday, August 17, 2023

Restoring river banks

Volunteers of the Ausable River Association planted dogwoods and willows along the East Branch of Ausable River in Jay in May. Photo by Mike Lynch

Work has begun in Upper Jay on a project that will help restore the East Branch of the Ausable River to its natural state.

The Ausable River Association (AsRA) has identified 13 sites in the town of Jay where the river, distended by industry over the last century and a half — is in poor ecological health, making it more prone to flooding and ice jams, and less friendly to aquatic life.

The current site, upstream of the Route 9N bridge, is the second of the sites to be remediated. It will narrow the river channel, speeding the flow and making it less conducive to the creation of great slabs of ice that can cause considerable damage and flooding downstream.

According to AsRA, Project Area 2 “includes approximately 3,000 feet of river with eroding banks that have left it with an overly wide channel. Typical of many of the degraded sections of the East Branch Ausable River, the overwide channel lacks the energy to move sediment because water is spread too thinly across it. Sediment builds up in the middle of the channel in seasonal floods and leads to more bank erosion as water is directed away from the center towards eroding banks, a self-perpetuating cycle.”

As Zach Matson reports in the July/August issue of Adirondack Explorer magazine (click here to subscribe), organizations like AsRA are facing difficulties sourcing native plants that they use for restoration projects. Click here to read more.

This first appeared in the Explorer’s weekly “Water Line” newsletter. Click here to sign up.

Photo at top: Volunteers of the Ausable River Association planted dogwoods and willows along the East Branch of Ausable River in Jay in May. Photo by Mike Lynch

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Tim Rowland is a humor columnist for Herald-Mail Media in Hagerstown, Md., and a New York Times bestselling author. His books include High Peaks; A History of Hiking the Adirondacks from Noah to Neoprene and Strange and Unusual Stories of New York City. He has climbed the 46 high peaks, is an avid bicyclist, and trout tremble with fear when they see his approaching shadow. He and his wife Beth are residents of Jay, N.Y.




2 Responses

  1. Boreas says:

    River remediation on the E. Branch is LONG overdue and much needed. Keep up the good work!

  2. David Gibson says:

    What Boreas wrote ! I could not agree more. Thank you, AsRA et. al. for all the restoration efforts along the Ausable East Branch since recovery from Irene, 2011,and for those who report on the work, too, like Tim.

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