|Male red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) in full mating display|
But, as the creek began to flood with increasingly frequency, the fields could be used less and less often. The school finally decided to undertake major capital improvements. It moved the fields out of the floodplain and replaced the fields with a series of interconnected basins that gather stormwater and hold it until the creek's level falls low enough to accommodate the runoff. In addition, the basins were naturalized with native plants to create wildlife habitat.
The school spared no expense in this project (both to build its new first-class athletic fields and to restore the floodplain), so I guess that's why the results were all the more disappointing.
|Parking lot "rain gardens"|
|Up against the wall, rain garden|
|Overlooking the basins on the floodplain|
|Re-excavated wetland basin|
Because we had a little time before the class was over, we walked up a small drainage to a spring seep on a hillside. Here, in the wet area below the spring, skunk cabbage had begun to emerge from its winter dormancy.
|Skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) in a spring seep|
|Eastern garter snake (Thamnopnis sirtalis sirtalis) on the floodplain among the invasive non-native lesser celandine (Ranunculus divaricata)|