The RBN MidWin Gathering for 2014 took place at Waters Elementary School Green Wing, from 12 noon until 2:00 Saturday February 15.
Deb brought delicious cakes and cookies from Cafe Selmarie, coffee and lemonade was provided as well as Waters School mint tea and gooseberry jam

In attendance:
Roark Johnson
Lisa Bassett
Christiane Rey
Jesus Medina
Christopher Haite
Evelyn Medina
Gema Medina
April Jean-Baptiste
Ivan Facsko
Larisa Facsko
Ted Hopton
Julie Peterson 
Miki Greenberg
Anne Sylvan
Greg Ekey
Brendon and Megan O'Connor
Stephen Doyle
Anna Pickett
 Meg Ford
Debbie Albano
Pete Leki
Child cast of "Legend of Snake and Turtle"  Megan, Ismaias, Aiden, Damir.

Meeting opened with a performance of the "The Legend of Snake and Turtle" by Waters 1st and 2nd graders, and "Africa" by the Bullfrogs Community Chorus.
Pete began with an overview of the history of  RBN and its annual management plan, the bank stabilization project and the challenges facing us, proposals to increase the number of internships, high school service learning hours, and local youth involvement. Suggestion to establish regular, monthly workdays (3rd Saturday).
Update from Chris ref: MWRD. Sheet piling is awaiting delivery from Lamont. Coming in by barge. River levels and extreme cold  have impacted the ability of contractor to begin work. Project is expected to be complete by end of June. Fence will not come down until at least the hardscape is complete. Will work with landscaping contractor on potential location of steps and paths. Landscaping plan includes placement of many live stakes of willow and dogwood species, very common but vigorous sprouters.  Also a smaller number of more hi-value shrub species to be planted with roots in soil pockets, including wahoo, bladdernut and ninebark.

Here is a timeline provided by Chris:

Feb 24-28  Install Monitoring

Mar 3 - Apr 25 Install Sheet Piling

Apr 28 – Jun 12 Install fabric and stone behind piling

Jun 13 – 19 Topsoil and landscaping

Jun 13 – 27 Extend drains and pipes

Jun 23 -24 Remove temporary fencing

 

It was agreed that we will need to do more outreach to the community, and to post, for public perusal, more information about the ongoing progress of the east bank. 
Once sheet-pile program begins, the barge and boom will be parked near the Montrose bridge. Some materials will be stockpiled at the Lawrence pumping station. 
Agreed that we need to prepare our community for fence removal with :

We need to disseminate bank information and ecological knowledge more widely to the neighborhood through block parties, email lists and web-page. There appears to be a lot of mis-information, anxiety, and confusion about the east bank project (especially vis-a-vis the west bank project).

It appears that the entire spring growing season will be unavailable to us because of project restrictions. Two important particular issues must be addressed by the District and the contractor since the project will extend into the thawing of the soil: the man-gate installed at Berteau Street must be moved to intercept the path and stairway, rather than in the middle of a planting; and the mandated protection of trees, in particular the cordon protecting the willow at Hutchinson that blocks the path, must not be a reason for workers to trample the upper, terraced bank or the plantings on the lunkers. Passage for workers along the path needs to be restored.

It is possible that we can use the Alderman's on-going newsletters and new, special RBN page, to disseminate info and announce activities.

We will reprint this summary, along with all other input on the RBN website, thanks to the work of Julie Peterson and Kevin Anderson. 
Stay tuned