Breaking Ground

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A few photos as we begin work on Phase 1 of our Water Environment Grant (WEG) funded project – see previous post.

I am working with the expert help of Five Rivers, Stew on the digger and Jari (aka Gary) pedalling the tracked dumper. I’m on supervisory duties with the laser level and a satchel of drawings.

We have a brand new wide-track (90cm) excavator to play with. This machine has unbelievably low ground pressure: “like riding around on bog mats,” says Stew. This is good news as the ground here is very delicate and relatively saturated even at this time of year. The new channel fills with groundwater overnight.

So far so good: the peat floodplain is holding up, so long as we run the machines in straight lines, while the gravel is down there pretty much at the depths my unscientific road-pin probing survey indicated.

The real-challenge is trying to recreate the distinctive shape of a natural, spring-fed pastoral river – those undercut banks and the terraces on the insides of meanders, the gentle rise and fall of the river bed, the beautiful and almost inimitable randomness of a natural river  – while every other part of the process is about precise details and planning.

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That’s where I hope my bursting-at-the-seams photo album of unmodified spring-fed streams in New Zealand will come in handy!

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