June 2012 Renovation Update
Over the last two weeks the contractors have continued to tie up loose ends on the job site.
Progress in Unit A:
The main focus has been on the large water control structure near the wells on the southwest side of Unit A. Two weeks ago forms were laid out and concrete was poured. Last week they’ve been focusing on the bridge span and the frames for the gates. This week they’ll work on hanging the two gates that will control the water coming down the stream. The electric company has started burying the electric line. Once it is installed we’ll have our electrical engineer check things out before we can flip the switch. We’ll let you know when we have power.
Planning for Stage 2:
Back in the office we’ve been working with our engineer, draftsman and environmental compliance coordinator to make sure plans are ready to go out for the next stage. We will be applying for our permits soon. This will set us up in time to get things out to bid early next year so the new contractors can hit the ground as soon as weather permits come May or June.
Next Step This Summer:
During the remainder of this year we will focus on getting the levees vegetated and try to promote a desirable plant response within the units before waterfowl season. This may be a tough road to hoe because of the hot and dry conditions that continue to persist.
Hot and Dry Outlook:
According to Missouri’s state climatologist, Pat Guinan, the Bootheel had one of the driest April-May periods in more than 118 years. Unfortunately the records show that when conditions are dry like this spring, the following summer tends to be hotter and drier than normal as well.
The combination of persistent heat, solar radiation, low humidity and wind rapidly depletes the soil moisture necessary for plant growth. These conditions have put us smack dab in the middle of an extreme drought, and we haven’t even seen July or August. With conditions not looking to improve, our plans to revegetate parts of the construction site may prove to be difficult in the coming months. Having electricity to our wells will be helpful in the short term, but it will probably take several years for the habitat to really respond to our recent renovation work.
Thank you for your continued patience and interest.