Wednesday, August 1, 2012

wetland mitgation program, or one whopping big project with monster-sized trucks

I mentioned the racket this summer.  It's an industrial-sized project happening behind our property.  About 60 acres of former cropland are being turned into wetlands to replace about 17 acres of wetland being turned into an improved highway and a Cabela's.  Yes, the irony of turning protected wetlands into a big box store catering to outdoorsmen does not escape me, either.

 Lots of big trucks are parked on our property every night.  The cab doors are unlocked.  We trespass.  Well, not technically, as the trucks are on our property...

 This huge bridge was built over the creek to let those big trucks pass.

Huge piles of dirt form a ring around the perimeter of the field.  Why?  For what purpose?
Climbing, of course.

This one gives you some small sense of the scale of this project.  It's massive.

Eerily so.

All day long the big trucks push, dig, dump and transport that dirt around. 

And sometimes those big trucks bring in piles of rocks, too.

And they leave big tracks.

It's an official work site, as evidenced by this plywood covered by permits, rules and other important documents.

And it's all hidden far back on this service road that we share with our neighbors.

Big trucks on our prairie.
 Little Mr. G by a big truck.

 Mr. T illustrating how much dirt a digger can hold.

I snuck up on the workers from the edge of the woods and took some pictures, too.

That's what goes on back there.  All day.  Every day.  From seven in the morning until five at night.

Back and forth.

It's so weird to see all this space empty when it's usually planted with corn every year.  I'll keep you posted as this develops.

From what I understand, they're going to dig some kind of pond and plant a berm with native species.  Judging by the scope of this job, I imagine it'll take a little while.  I've never seen a wetlands get restored before, and certainly never seen 60 acres go from cropland to wetland.  It's easy to imagine how our back forty will benefit from an adjacent 60 acres of wildlife habitat.  It's tougher to imagine how that restoration actually happens.  But that, my friends, is our tax dollars hard at work in the Badger State.


  1. This looks like a Team Testosterone wonderland! The boys will always remember this fondly. I think it's awesome that they can snoop around the equipment - it's boy heaven!

  2. That's a Boy (or Girl) Heaven back there. Exploration of those big diggers some kids have only seen on TV. I wish I had my grandfather's many acres back in Minnesota. There was a crick (I would say creek) and a swimming hole and who knows what else.

  3. It's a lucky kid that gets to grow up with some wilderness out the back door. I did, (complete with a crick!) and it was wonderful. Thanks for all the cool pics--we'll be watching as it develops, too!

  4. interesting addition to your neighborhood. the kids will have fun, now and when it is finished. be advised, there will be more mosquitoes, Ticks, prickly plants and all manner of itchy things. but kids don't seem to mind that too much.

  5. I'm trying to wrap my head around this project. Was the cropland a wetland before it was planted with corn/soybeans/whatever? Besides the pond and the berm with native species, what will make this a wetland?

  6. That is really cool. I am happy that the construction in your backyard is to restore something good and not to build a new Wal-mart.

  7. The drive I take to get Emma to school each morning is an ancient county road. Beginning last year, they're building a new four lane road next to it, and the county road will become a service road. (This is a good thing, even though it's paving over nature --that county road with all its driveways had become the scene of many accidents where people died as the population increased in the area.)

    We've been watching this happen, and it involves the same thing --taking mounds of dirt and moving them around for AGES! Whole months pass, as dirt is moved from one place to another. And then --presto! you can suddenly see where the lanes will be. They had to build a bridge (permanent, not temporary) over a creek, and that was quite interesting too. We sort of got the stop-action film, since we drive that way many times a week, even now that school isn't in session.

    And I know Emma would love to sit in the cabs of those trucks and run up and down those mounds of dirt if she could! Lucky boys!

  8. Holy Backhoe, Batman, those are some huge trucks. I always imagined that restoring wetlands just meant letting nature take over - no work needed. There is a construction project near us, much smaller than what you show here, and there is a humongous mound of dirt. That mound just sits there, but there is a lot of other dirt that just seemingly gets moved around. It makes me wonder if they have a plan at all.

  9. Hope those boys remember to hose off before they come in!!

  10. When I was 5 (talking 1966) our farm was on both sides of the road, the barn, pump house, silo and shed on the north side. The 'conservation' (this is what my mother always said) bought the buildings and removed them. They then flooded the area (thousands of acres, ours was at a boundry) to make the marsh. I would imagine this was the early version of a wetlands project.

  11. we had a smaller version...still a huge scale, in our backyard....
    one time they left the keys in the bulldozer and my 10 yr old son turned it on!!!!!!!!

  12. How very cool! It's a boy playground in your own backyard.

  13. That does look like a place that would draw boys. Or grown men, for that matter.

  14. Restoration is a wonderful thing.

    Cabela's. Huh. Don't get me started. We had one in a first-ring suburb here in Mpls that went under -- now it's an enormous, what? speed bump, maybe. Been empty now for about four years. They should tear it down and plant trees...


  15. So the wetlands are restored? Meaning the cropland used to be wetlands at one time? How'd they covert that, I wonder?

    Second, does this mean you'll get lots of mosquitoes?

    No matter, fun for your boys, that's for sure!!

  16. I was pleased when Bass Pro declined to build in Green Bay because they could not ethically support destroying a wetland. I was disappointed when Cabela's said, "Yeah, sure! Why not?" I'll look forward to seeing progress, positive progress I hope, through your photo essay posts.

  17. I always imagined which repairing estuarine habitat simply intended enabling nature take control : zero work necessary. There exists a development project in close proximity to us, smaller than what an individual show below, and there's a huge clump associated with grime. doosan colombia


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