News from the park

Some tidbits from the most recent newsletter from Friends of Huntley Meadows Park:

  • The crayfish population is up! Resource Management Intern Alice Millikin writes that water quality monitors as well as turtle and frog trappers reported increases. The nets used for water quality monitoring caught 28 individuals, more than the catch for the past five years combined.
  • King Rails (Rallus elegans) are back! Park Manager Kevin Munroe says in his message that a parent with four or five chicks was seen at least three times in the period 19 July to 27 July. Higher water levels, a habitat mosaic created by muskrats and beavers, and increased crayfish numbers are responsible.
  • Construction for the wetland restoration project has been delayed again. A dam breach analysis was recently completed, with the anticipation that the project can be qualified as low-hazard, and hence move through the permitting process. A 2010 date for construction is still possible, but 2011 is more likely.
  • Also in 2010-11, the surface and toe boards of the boardwalk will be replaced, this time with recycled plastic materials. Lower maintenance, and a greener message. The project is funded by the 2008 bond referendum.