Tuesday, July 14, 2015

2015 Molly: Adventures in Restoration

From digging infinite holes in dry sand to almost getting hit by golf balls, I have learned so much as a Doyle Fellow so far this summer! Working on the dune restoration projects have shown me the importance of involving the community; without their understanding and cooperation the restoration would not be successful. Check out Myrilla’s latest post for more on the dune work.

The past two weeks we have jumped on to a relatively new project: Cornelius Brook Riparian Buffer Restoration on the Sagamore-Hampton golf course in North Hampton. Cornelius brook is part of the Winnicut watershed, which drains to the Great Bay. The brook runs through their course, and past studies show it is impaired due to high nitrogen and phosphorus levels. This year with our help, management of the golf course wants to restore vegetation along the brook to filter out nutrients and protect the stream. We did a survey of the course two weeks ago to identify areas for restoration and developed a rough plan of what actions should be done (either to stop mowing or to plant trees and shrubs). Although we tried our best to stay out of the way of the golfers that morning, we got distracted by fish nests in a pond and heard "Hey ladies, watch out!" being yelled from a tee nearby. We soon realized we were right in the middle of the fairway... yikes!
The "brook" as it enters the golf course.
Definitely in need of some support from trees and shrubs.
No mow area - native grasses help filter out nutrients.
We hope to plant wet tolerant trees and shrubs on right side of brook.
 Me and tall riparian shrub near the pond. Hoping to plant more
 shrubs similar to this one along the brook to trap nutrients.
This past week, Myrilla, Alyson and I met with the owner and the superintendent of the club to discuss the areas we identified as potential to be restored. We all sat around a big map of the course and drew on it areas where we could plant trees and shrubs. The representatives from the golf course were really enthusiastic about the project, and it solidified my realization that restoration work wouldn’t be successful without the collaboration of all parties involved. It was a great learning experience to be part of the planning stages of a restoration project. In the upcoming weeks we will meet with a horticulturist to determine the best trees and shrubs for the conditions on the golf course, as well as take water quality samples to move the project along. Additionally, Myrilla and I will create a comprehensive educational poster describing the restoration effort to members of the golf club -  keeping them in the loop about what their club is doing to reduce their impact on the Great Bay.

Today we had a luncheon at the NH Sea Grant office where most of the interns from NH Sea Grant and UNH Cooperative Extension shared some photos and experiences of their work so far this summer. It was awesome to hear about what everyone else has been doing, and to have the support from each other and our mentors. Sharing with everyone gave me a sense of immediate community; being able to see faces of people interested in the work we've been doing was encouraging and empowering. 

I am excited to continue work on the golf course as well as out in the dunes, or wherever else the summer may take us! Check back for an update soon - the summer is flying by!

Until next time,

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