Water Works and Odds and Ends

I cherish every day I get to spend at the Scuppernong Springs.  Saturday, August 11th was an absolutely gorgeous day indeed.

Since I resumed working at the Springs in late April 2011, I’ve thought about giving the individual springs names.  Well, they already have names that I just recently noticed on the Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail Map, included in the guide.

The namesake spring is the Scuppernong Spring, which I’ve been referring to as the first or main spring.  Then there are the Hillside Springs (actually in two locations), the Hidden Spring, the Emerald Spring, the Hotel Spring and the Indian Spring.  Trail boss Don Dane says there are 13 springs and one of these days, I’ll get him to document where they all are.  The trail brochure explains — The name Scuppernong comes from a Ho Chunk word meaning “sweet-scented land.”  I wonder what names the Ho Chunk people gave to the individual springs.  From now on, I will be using the current names when referring to the individual springs.

I started the day with a couple of clean-up tasks.  A huge Cottonwood tree had fallen parallel to the trail and a few branches needed to be cleared.

And a Hickory came down across the trail.

Since we have opened up the area at the South end of the trail, there has been an explosion of Black Locust.  They grow very fast and have the nastiest barbs you will find on any woody plant.  The DNR began girdling the huge Black Locusts many years ago and we are continuing that effort and cleaning up the trees as the die and fall.  They can be harvested for firewood as well (contact Mike, the forester at the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, for a permit).  I sprayed 5 gallons of Roundup on the bushy black locust.  Don Dane recommends we use TransLine and we will do so as soon as we get some.

Then I continued our efforts clearing the quack grass from the Indian Spring.  Lindsay got most of it already and I cleaned up the last remnants.

This effort stirred up at lot of mud, which collected at an earthen bridge that crosses the Indian Springs outflow channel.  The water finds a way under it somehow but the bridge restricts the flow.  When Don and Dave visited the site on August 9th, they recommended that we open it up and so I did.

Then it was on to the Observation Deck at the Emerald Springs (see map above) where I wanted to pull a patch of water cress that had formed a dam that actually forced the river out of its natural path.  Don pointed this out and showed me where the river used to flow.  John and Sue Hrobar, stopped over to say hello.  We will soon be posting some of their stories and pictures describing the various flora and fauna they have observed.

Finally, on the way back to car going up a DNR access road by the Hotel Springs, I had to capture these views of the river valley that are now visible since we cleared some of the Willows that were filling in.

It was a great day at the Springs!

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