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Project ReWard — Expedition Five


Project: ReWard


Project ReWard marches (paddles?) on, and for Expedition Five, it was finally time to begin the assault on the Ward Creek Lumberyard at Pecue.  The epic jam at Pecue has been a major issue for paddling Ward Creek for years now, so it’s high time we came at it head on.

For the first four expeditions of Project ReWard, we’ve been launching at Manchac Park and paddling upstream to get to the work zones.  Now that we’re working Pecue, we decided to forgo the 4.75-mile paddle and come in from upstream instead.  We were hoping the shorter commute and epic mission might be enough to get some additional interest, but any additional volunteers must have been scared off by the forecast.  Well, a bit of weather means nothing to us when we’re working a bridge jam, so we shoved off in a sprinkle at 8am and arrived at Pecue fresh and early and ready to go.

Before - Looking Downstream After - Looking Downstream

After setting up a bevy of cameras, we took a good look at the jam and decided to go with a modified standard approach.  We’d use the hand saws to dismantle smaller or branchy logs and trees, the rakes (“four-tine cultivators”) to break up the mountains of mud and debris, and the heavy tackle to pull the huge trunks through with minimal cuts.  Sending long logs downstream does increase the chances we’ll meet them again, but they should be easier to address when they’re not part of a veritable dam.

Before - Looking Upstream After - Looking Upstream

There was very little current on Ward Creek, and what little there was was funneled through the jam wherever it could find an opening.  At first, that was the second wet bay from the south end, and as we continued, the first wet bay on the north end joined it.  That turned out to be a small but persistent annoyance all day, as we ended up with two large and very slow eddies that caught up everything we freed and carried it right back into the bridge.  By a few hours in, we were actually longing for a good thunderstorm to get things moving, but other than the passing sprinkle as we shoved off in the morning we had nothing but beautiful skies all day long.  Hopefully we’ll get a good Louisiana rain to flush everything along before the next expedition.

Before - Under After - Under

The jam looks considerably cleared at the water level we were working, and while it is indeed a drastic improvement for one day’s work, there is a ton of work left.  (A metaphorical ton, that is.  Much more, taken literally.)  We were still walking around on the submerged jam at the end of the day, while the true bottom was several feet down.  Of course, we don’t have to clear it to the stream bed, but we have more than a few logs and full trees left to pull.  Should be fun.

Expedition Six of PaddleBR’s Project ReWard will likely be Sunday, March 25th.  With BREC Outdoor Adventure’s Paddle Up 3 scheduled for Bayou Fountain on March 24th, we’re going to do a full Bayou Fountain paddle trail maintenance run next week and then join BREC for their paddle event.  After that it’ll be back to Ward Creek, which we hope to have rehabilitated enough to host a paddle trip as soon as next month, weather and progress permitting.  Until next time, then.


One Comment leave one →
  1. David Schledt permalink
    2018-03-30 8:23am

    Would like to be notified of future events.

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