Soft Healing at the Arb
Something else amazing is that Fleming Creek is considered a "navigable waterway" by the DEQ. In this case, it is not canoeists who need to be accommodated. According to Weiss, the vanes needed to be constructed in such a way that "even if the creek is low and only has a few inches in it, it has to stay clear enough for a duck to float by-or the fish."
Weiss is grateful for the guidance she received from Gray: "It was numerous meetings with me, really coaching me through all the research he had done related to stream-bank erosion and the different techniques that are suitable given all the variables. So I felt really lucky that as a part of my job I got to have this kind of personalized 'course.' I'm a better professional for having worked with him and learning what I did about 'green' or 'soft' engineering."
The "volunteers" for this project were members of the Community Work Program-individuals who, convicted of crimes, chose to do some heavy lifting rather than spend time in jail. Under the guidance of Sheriff's Deputy Brian Wild, they spent a day building the rock vanes by hand, one heavy boulder at a time. It was just one of many weekly projects the Community Work Program does at Matthaei.
"In a way, it's a crapshoot," says Wild. "We never know what we're gong to be doing until we get here. It could be weeding, cleaning flower pots, or moving rocks into a creek. But when a project is done, you really know you've done something. It's not like picking up trash off the road, where it's back two days later."