about south river federation

With so much of our time, our effort, and let's be honest - our love - going into our restoration projects throughout the year, winter will bring significant changes to our completed projects. Our carefully selected native plantings installed this year, over 5,000 plants, in fact, will enter dormancy. Their role in reducing nitrogen from urban and lawn runoff will diminish greatly until spring. Some will still play a major role as food source or habitat structure through the winter (did you know that the American Woodcock only performs its mating call from Alder shrubs?). Others have expended their seeds for 2015 and we look forward to all their offspring germinating next spring. Now that we are finished with our fall plantings and seeding, as well as our invasive weed control efforts, we say goodnight to our beloved native plants.

Luckily, microbes and invertebrates will still be at work on our sites, filtering runoff, processing nitrogen, and playing their part in the food chain. The leaves will fall, creating a crucial source of carbon for these organisms. In streams where we have constructed good habitat, the leaves will not wash into the tidal creeks as they do in urban ditches and farm gullies. But mostly this winter, at our restored sites, we will be watching and waiting for a new round of plant and wildlife growth.

Bird life is changing, too. The goldfinches are gone, replaced, we hope by warblers we'll see eating Atlantic White Cedar cones throughout the winter. The Federation began conducting bird monitoring on some proposed and completed restoration sites in 2015, and will continue that effort this winter, as our winter residents (and passers-through) arrive. We assisted in a 2014 bird survey of living shoreline projects, and we hope to continue that work this winter as well. Our winter birds are important to us, and indeed are the likely sources of three new small colonies of native submerged grasses in the Church Creek watershed: Sago Pondweed (P. pectinatus), Largeleaf Pondweed (P. amplifolius), and Small Pondweed (P. pusillus). Thanks to last year's winter ducks for the plentiful crop!

This winter will be busy. During 2015, we had 20 projects actively under construction. Many are still in progress, even as we start on our 2016 slate of projects in the cold. Interestingly enough, working on frozen mud is easier than working on liquid mud. Thanks to all of you who have helped us grow into the capacity to construct "20 in 2015", and feel free to bring us some coffee if you see us working in the cold!