Monday, August 27, 2018

Northampton County Parks & Rec Staff, Watershed Volunteers Repair Riparian Buffer At Fry’s Run County Park Within Days Of Flash Flood

By: Jim Wilson, Northampton County Parks & Recreation Division

On August 11, another flash flood for the record books slammed the Fry’s Run watershed in Williams Township, Northampton County as well as other stream basins across the Lehigh Valley.
Many of the 200-plus container stock trees planted along nearly 800 linear feet of the creek at Fry’s Run Park by County Parks & Recreation staff and Fry’s Run Watershed Association volunteers over the past three years, were smashed flat by raging floodwaters, which crested over 13-feet above the top of the streambank at the park.
Within 24 hours of the flood, volunteers with the watershed association and Penn State Extension’s Master Watershed Steward Program were on the scene, resurrecting as best they could, dozens of flattened and bent-over trees temporarily propping them up with flood debris. Everything from broken tree limbs and wooden fence slats to metal fence posts and even an electric chainsaw was used.
With their roots well enough established, not a single tree was ripped out of the ground and lost to floodwaters-- a testament to the strength and function of riparian buffer trees.
Knowing time was of the essence and that the trees would need to be pushed back up and properly staked while the soils were still wet and gooey, County Parks & Rec staff, with funding from the Wildlands Conservancy, purchased 110 four- and five-foot long, two- by two-inch oak stakes and 500-feet of tie to stake and guy the trees upright.
Within a week of the flood, parks & rec staff and watershed volunteers using the stakes, tie, post drivers, sledgehammers and plenty of hard work, straightened up about 100 flood- damaged trees at Fry’s Run Park.
A comealong was cabled to oak stakes to winch back upright the largest of the flattened and most severely bent over trees.
With increasing frequency and severity in localized flooding, this equipment and these supplies should be in every watershed association’s toolbox for riparian tree flood repair.
Staff and volunteers at the park also removed streamside flood debris as well as debris in riparian buffer, like tree limbs and leaves, shoveled flood sediment away from buffer tree trunks and used chainsaws to cut up and remove large flood-fallen trees from Fry’s Run and its streambanks.
Kudos to all Northampton County Parks and Recreation staff and watershed volunteers for their rapid response and speedy flood damage repair and recovery work at Fry’s Run Park!
(Photo: Some of the volunteers and Parks & Rec staff cleanup crew.)

Jim Wilson is a Recreation Specialist with the Northampton County Parks & Recreation Division and can be contacted by sending email to:
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