WB MUD Trails & Stream Strategies

By the Facilities Committee:  Chuck Walters, Director and President • Bob Bauhs, Director • Richard Fadal, TexaScapes • Robert Ferguson, Murfee Engineering

We know that many of you are concerned about the health of the trees and the health of the stream banks and pond. The purpose of this memo is to provide a brief outline of our stewardship of these precious assets and our strategy for watching over them.

  • Trees and Bushes
  1. The trees have suffered during the drought despite our efforts to keep the key trees along the trail watered. As you walk the trails now, you will see many trees still in distress. Our intent is to avoid cutting any trees down for as long as we can safely leave them in place. Many trees that are under stress go dormant for extended periods and we want to give them as much chance to recover as we possibly can. Very few of us are old enough to have any experience with a drought of such a duration.  Most arborists are recommending a “Wait and See” approach unless an obviously dead tree is a hazard to people and property.
  2. Local tree professionals are reviewing all trees within 30 feet of our trails, around our facilities, and through-out our parking lots and sidewalks.  Dead trees that are hazardous to pedestrians or vehicles will be marked for and scheduled for removal soon.  Dead trees that are outside such use areas will be marked for removal during the dry summer and cold winter month; a long standing practice in Wells Branch.  Trees that are bare of foliage and/or stressed in appearance will be monitored throughout the year.  We expect some to recover if normal rainfall returns, and expect others to dwindle and die during the hottest part of this and next summer.  Those that die will be scheduled for removal accordingly.
  3. Replacement trees will be planted during the winter planting season. The chances of survival go up when new trees are planted during the cooler winter months. We then prefer to plant the trees in groups to facilitate their continued maintenance.
  4. For more details, go to the MUD website at: www.wellsbranchmud.com and click on the Trees for Trails tab.  As always, the MUD welcomes input from residents. Please don’t hesitate to contact our office at 251-9814 or jkennis@wellsbranchmud.com with questions or comments about our park system.
  • Stream Beds
  1. Murfee engineering, the MUD’s engineering consultant, recently presented a stream stability assessment and restoration study to the MUD board. It is based on a 10 month study of the stream from the base of the dam to its exit on Thermal Drive. They  outlined a strategy that recommends that we keep the stream as free flowing as possible by using natural channel deigns based on the Wildland Hydrology approach developed by Dave Rosgen, PhD.  These techniques include:
    1. i.      Eliminating as many obstructions as possible.
    2. ii.      Retaining well rooted grasses near and in the stream bed.
    3. iii.      Relocating streambeds using natural channel design techniques.
    4. iv.      Using cross vanes to direct channel flow
    5. v.      Installing scour chains to monitor erosion
    6. In the area above the pond they observed that a slowed stream flow is OK as it will lessen the amount of silt deposited in the pond. The inclusion of natural grasses and clump grasses along the stream beds leading into the pond are recommended to stabilize the stream banks.
    7. The full engineering report will be posted on the MUD’s website at: www.wellsbranchmud.com under the Projects tab.
    8. This article will also be available on the Wells Branch Neighborhood Association website at: www.wbna.us.
  • The Pond
  1. The pond has the potential for being more beautiful and attractive by using a combination of park planning and riparian techniques. Preliminary ideas for improving the vitality of the pond are underway and include seeking advice not only from our landscape consultant, but also from local park and riparian experts. We hope to start incorporating their recommendations during the winter growing season in conjunction with Trees for Trails’ projects. The challenge is to bring multiple users and uses together in a functional yet beautiful and natural way.
  2. The recommendations for these changes and improvements will be presented by the Facilities committee to the board. Watch the agendas posted on the website for these upcoming improvements.

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