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Report on Sabine Woods Work Day, December 6

Sabine Woods Work Day
December 6, 2008
A very successful work day was held at Sabine Woods on December 6, with 13 volunteers participating.  Essentially all the boardwalk debris was moved from the piles created inside the woods during the first work day to the side of the highway for eventual pick up.  We elected to leave one platform section that was deposited by the storm surge more or less level in a location where it is possible it might provide a viewing platform near the back of the small pond and drip.  If it turns out to be a useful location, we will build steps to make access easier.  We also worked on clearing the back fence of marsh debris, and accomplished a number of smaller tasks.  We have a promise of pro bono professional help with one of the large trees that came down and is blocking an important trail, and we hope final clearing of that tree will occur soon.  The remaining large tree that was determined to be of concern is not nearly as threatening, and is well off any of the trails, and not very accessible.  We propose to merely cordon off the area of that tree, at least in the interim, so that we can recommend to TOS that it reopen the Woods to birders.
For the immediate future, we are still looking for a viable way to drain or dilute the salt water in the main pond.  We still have some fence repair to do on the west and nort h boundaries.  The fence along the highway will eventually need to be completely replaced, which will involve clearing a path for it, and which will likely require a contractor, but it is not as urgent as it does not serve to keep cattle out as the fences on the other three sides will need to do again when cattle are brought back to the area.  However, we maybe should replace the gates and gateposts sooner rather than later.  It would be nice to have a couple of picnic tables to replace those lost, and replacement of the shelter would provide some cover when it rains.  We will need to work on the water system.  We don't currently know whether city water service is functional at the location, although there is no obvious damage to our system.  We will need to have the back flow preventer tested and we plan to add additional outlets for use when we plant trees using the Birding Classic grant funds next winter.
We thank all our volunteers, but we especially thank Andy Allen for bringing a four-wheeler John Deer Gator, which was immensely useful in transporting t he debris to the highway, Don Verser for bringing his chain saw and doing a lot of work in reducing the boardwalk debris into pieces that were manageable.  We thank Sally and Chuck Moffet for once again coming all the way from Shreveport in their RV and making its toilet facilities available to everyone.  The complete list of volunteers :
Kyle Addcox, Andy Allen, Ellen Baker, Bob Collier. Gary Kelley, Steve Mayes, Sally and Chuck Moffet, Christine Sliva, Bill Tarbox, Don Verser, Jana and John Whittle.
Tentatively, we are proposing February 28 for the next work day, and considering the possibility of a further one on March 28 if necessary.  The latter might be necessary to deal with invasive exotics.  We have a unique opportunity to access some areas that are normally inaccessible underbrush, and we will need to aggressively deal with any exotics – hopefully not many species -- that prove to be more salt tolerant than the native species we want to encourage.
John A. Whittle
December 7, 2008
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