Work Days: Brown Schoolhouse Bridge site work, September 12 and 20

Volunteers upon completion of site work on September 20

As Norwich’s new bridge to reconnect the trails north and south of the Charles Brown Brook approaches completion, Norwich Trails volunteers assembled to put finishing touches on the site work. Volunteers arrived at noon on September 12, as contractor Nick Fabrikant’s crew was placing decking on the new bridge. The plan was to stabilize the river banks to minimize erosion, using funds provided by the Norwich Women’s Club.

The volunteers first seeded the terrain with a native seed mix and then affixed erosion control blankets on the steep slopes. They strew hay on the level portions of the site and placed straw wattles at the bottom of the steep slopes to intercept soil fines from entering the stream.

On September 20, volunteers returned at 0830 to finish the slope stabilization and to move crushed rock to the south side of the bridge to finish the approach of the slope and create a handicap-friendly space at the end of the bridge. After about two hours, they had finished the bulk of the work and applied the last touches of seeding and fiber rolls.

Participating were:

  • Kristen Fauci
  • Jim Faughnan (co-organizer)
  • Bob Fisken
  • Steve Flanders
  • Peter Griggs
  • Doug Hardy (co-organizer)
  • David Hubbard
  • Nick Krembs (co-organizer)
  • John McCormick
  • Gerry Plummer
  • Cathie Redpath
  • Cody Williams

They left the bridge ready for its railings and an anticipated opening to trail users in October.

Bridge awaiting railings before being opened to trail users.

Story and photos by Stephen Flanders

Notes on the materials used:

The native mix contained Red Fescue (Festuca rubra), Canada Wild Rye (Elymus canadensis), Annual Ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum), Perennial Ryegrass (Lolium perenne),  Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), Indian Grass (Sorghastrum nutans), Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum), Upland Bentgrass (Agrostis perennans)

The erosion control blankets contained 70% agricultural straw, 30% coconut fiber blanket sewn to a biodegradable weaved jute net on both top and bottom. For use on 2:1 — 1:1 slopes with moderate-heavy runoff conditions.

The straw wattles are constructed of 100% weed-free straw inside a polyethylene net sock.

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