Land Lab Cam is up and running!

We will be using the land lab cam to monitor and share our experiences this school year. We are really looking forward to monitoring water levels during storm events and keeping tabs of bird feeding stations. I’m sure we will think of many other uses as well. To watch the live feed use internet explorer to visit the website. Find the link below under blogroll. The user name is hhs with no password.

Spring 2014 is finally here

After a winter that seemed to last forever, the land lab is finally showing signs of life. Development from last spring is not obvious at first glance but there are a few changes. The stream itself continues to shape the landscape in subtle ways. During periods of low flow last year the flow of water through the cobble riffles was mostly interstitial or subsurface. Now we are seeing more and more riffles maintaining depths that keep some cobble submerged at all times. Also, temporary pools have developed adjacent to the streams that look great for frog and toad reproduction. The students have just completed most of the indoor curriculum and are ready to get to work outside. We are really looking forward to what we will find throughout May.
Some additions made by the students over the winter include hanging bird nesting boxes and mounting a weather station. One of our goals is to provide nesting opportunities for as many native species as possible in the land lab. At this point, blue bird and tree swallow nests are being mounted. We’ll be trying some larger nest boxes in the future as well. We aren’t expecting too much with this goal until we see some of the vegetation grow up in the coming years. Little by little. The weather station is working very well. The station is solar powered and transmits data wirelessly to the receiver in the classroom. We hope to compare weather data with stream and biological data such as bird feeding patterns.
Stay tuned for more timely updates in May as that is our prime season for outdoor station 2014bird box 2014

temporary pools forming adjacent to stream

temporary pools forming adjacent to stream

Opening up the school year 2013

wet plant assort

a few types of rushes growing on the stream bank in upper flood plain area

misc redEveryone was excited to get back to school and into the land lab this year.  We were especially anxious to see how all of the plant material was doing after more than a year of time to get established.  Its amazing how much has changed since the spring.  Many new types of flowers were visible.  Tons of wetland plants are flourishing along the banks of the stream and in the floodplain.  Most of the trees and shrubs are doing great, including the live stakes.  And most importantly, the area is now about 95% vegetated in some way.  So the biggest erosion threats seem to be behind us for the moment.

In terms of storm water flows, the stream seems to handling everything quite well.  All structures look good and water levels in the pools are pretty consistent.

Over the summer, we began producing a documentary for the project.  All of the key players and agencies will be represented in the video.  We just haven’t seen the final product yet.  A ton of thanks to Kerry Paluscsak, Barb Van Blarcum and all of Hudson Cable for their work on this production.  Can’t wait to see it.
The pics below give a decent idea of what we’re seeing out there now.  They begin at the farthest section down stream and move upstream.

low stream 2

lowest stream section with step pools

mid stream 1

looking upstream through forested wetland section.


upper stream 6

Uppermost floodplain area is now vegetated! Lots of plant diversity along banks and in wetter areas of floodplain

upper stream 3

same area as above but looking downstream at water level