Sunday, August 29th 2010 9-12 at Berteau
Dear River Neighbors,
We need your help to clear the paths and pull weeds of our beloved riverbank. Our plantings are thriving, but the rains and warm weather have outstripped our ability to keep up. I was amazed this week when I was working on the bank to see evening primrose that was 8-9 feet tall, ragweed that was 12-13 feet tall, common plantain that looked like giant collard greens, stinging nettle growing like small trees and lamb's quarters like shrubs. Everything, but especially the plants that were repeatedly inundated by the grey goo of our river during the flood, seemed to have responded to the nutrient, heat and rain with colossal growth. These weedy plants, even if they are natives, overwhelm the more conservative grasses and sedges growing below them, shading and weakening them.
So, a small group of us have been working mightily to remove the weeds, open the paths, and re-balance the plant community. I have created a new compost (weed) pile near the Berteau landing on a patch of solid nettle, so we won't have to walk so far. We will be targeting specific weeds for pulling, and clearing all plants from the paths, and trimming back plants that are leaning into the paths and blocking passage. Be prepared to take home bunches of wild flowers. When we were weeding the paths last weekend, Lisa stopped us to let us know that a snapping turtle had laid a clutch of eggs at her back gate!
We may also be re-planting the shady section of riverbank at Berteau with grasses and forbs culled from the Waters School gardens. These will have to be watered regularly in order to "take".
So please come. We need your help and your friends and relatives. Come and see the new signage, and bring things to post: poems, announcements (like the request from Friends of the River to contact the Illinois Pollution Control Board to urge the to raise the quality standard for our Chicago River), and such.
See you there,